Durban - The ANC councillor in eThekwini Municipality accused of killing his predecessor will spend at least a month in the holding cells before he can apply for bail.
Councillor Muzi Ngiba, a senior member of the ANC in eThekwini, has been behind bars for almost a week.
His arrest was kept under wraps until the weekend when information was leaked that he had been arrested for the alleged criminal offence.
Ngiba is from ward 101 which includes the Cato Manor informal settlement and parts of Mayville township.
In October, just before the local government elections, Siyabonga Mkhize, the ANC’s candidate in the ward, was shot and killed. Another man, ANC member Mzukisi Nyanga, was killed and two others wounded in the attack.
The murders raised fears that more councillors would be killed ahead of the elections. There were also killings in other provinces. Mkhize contested the election posthumously because the IEC’s time frame for declaring a vacancy had not lapsed. In February this year, by-elections were held and Ngiba, who was fielded by the ANC, won and assumed office.
Ngiba, one of the “chief mourners” at Mkhize’s funeral, has been arrested with three others, Mlomo Ngcobo, Sandile Mzizi and Sfiso Vincent Mlondo, who are believed to be the hit men in the case.
According to Lirandzu Themba, spokesperson for Minister of Police Bheki Cele, Ngiba and his co-accused have already appeared in court.
“The National Political Cases Investigation Task Team conducted (an) investigation which led to the arrest of Nkosinathi Emmanuel Nkosi and Mlomo Ngcobo who were arrested and charged on May 22. The two accused appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on May 23.
“Councillor Mkhipheni Mzimuni Ngiba was arrested and charged. He appeared before the Durban Magistrate’s Court on May 25. On May 25 Sifiso Vincent Mlondo was arrested and charged. He appeared on May 26. All four accused were charged for conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, murder, possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition. All accused have been remanded in custody. The matter has been remanded to June 24 for a formal bail application,” Themba said.
Mlondi Mkhize, spokesperson of the ANC in the eThekwini region, said: “While we understand and accept the principle of natural justice that a person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, we however call for justice for our fallen comrades.”
The chief whip of the DA in the eThekwini Municipality, Thabani Mthethwa, said council speaker Thabani Nyawose should take action against Ngiba until he is cleared by the courts.
“No investor would invest in a city where action is not taken against a councillor facing such serious allegations. We call upon the speaker to make sure that this councillor is removed from office so as to defend the image of the municipality,” Mthethwa said.