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Six murder accused in Inanda pre-election drive-by shooting face life imprisonment

Six people accused of killing three women in a drive-by shooting in Inanda before the local government elections last year were told they face possible life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 15-years. Picture: SAPS

Six people accused of killing three women in a drive-by shooting in Inanda before the local government elections last year were told they face possible life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 15-years. Picture: SAPS

Published Mar 16, 2022

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DURBAN - Six people accused of killing three women in a drive-by shooting in Inanda before the local government elections last year were told they face possible life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 15-years.

Ward 54 councillor Themba Mnguni, Nomthandazo Mbeje, the ward’s secretary-general Sibongile Buthelezi, Samukelisiwe Maphumulo, Thembinkosi Mkhwanazi, and Siyabonga Lundy appeared at the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

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Mnguni and Mbeje were each granted R5 000 bail on the condition that they did not interfere with witnesses, report to a local police station twice a week, surrender their passports to the authorities and relocate out of the area. Meanwhile, the rest of the accused were all out on bail granted in early January.

They are accused of shooting and killing Beatrice Nzama, 60, Ncami Shange, 34, and Philisiwe Jili, 37, in September last year, in a drive-by shooting believed to be politically motivated.

The shooting happened before the scheduled start of a ward 54 meeting on September 11. The incident sparked a public outcry and prompted a visit from Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Mnguni is said to be the mastermind behind the murders as his seat for councillorship was being contested closely in the municipal elections.

Before the proceedings, it was revealed that Mnguni and Mbeje’s attorney had withdrawn from the case, and another defence lawyer was present on their behalf, while Mkhwanazi’s attorney was not present in court.

The suspects were informed of the possible sentencing for the charge of murder for which they are charged, which carries a minimum sentence of 15-years in prison.

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The matter was then adjourned for April 12 for statements and charge sheet to be made available to the defence.

Resident Mzomusha Zungu said in spite of the unfortunate outcome of the bail applications, the community's expectations were not destroyed once it was announced that the matter would eventually continue at the Durban High Court.

“We are very uneasy as a community and disappointed that they were all granted bail. The fear here, as the entire community protested against the suspects, is palpable.

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“But, we are very hopeful that the strict bail conditions will keep them, especially the councillor, away from the community. The case being moved to the Durban High Court will also guarantee an objective process, where the judges will be free from bribery and other influences,” said Zungu.

Zandile Shabangu, whose daughter Ncamisile Shange died in the shooting, said Mbeje instructed her on the day her daughter died that she needed to go clean the blood.

“The people who killed my daughter should never be allowed bail, even the ones who were given bail of R3 000 did not deserve it. Is that how much a human life costs these days, R3 000? The death of my daughter came with so much pain. On the same day she was killed Thandaza Mbeje came to me and said I should go and clean my daughter’s blood because it was staining a municipal building. Both of them should remain in jail, or we are not safe,” said Shabangu.

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