South Africa's ruling party says a prominent member close to party leader Jacob Zuma has been shot and killed outside Durban.

The South African Press Association quotes police sources who say Mbongeleni Zondi was killed in Umlazi township Thursday when his car was sprayed by automatic weapons fire from a passing vehicle.  

Police say they collected more than 50 spent cartridges at the scene.  The incident is under investigation.

In a statement, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, Sibusiso Ndebele, expressed outrage and shock at the killing.  He says Zondi was a strong ally of African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, and had recently hosted Zuma at his home.

The premier says he is confident the perpetrators will soon be brought to justice.

Zondi was the great-grandson of Zulu Chief Inkosi Bhambatha who led a brief revolt against British colonial rule in 1906.

Some information for this report was provided byAP.