DURBAN - The National Freedom Party said it believes police have arrested the mastermind in the murder of its ward councillor candidate Dumisani Qwabe, who was killed shortly before local government elections last month.
Qwabe, who was the ward 17 candidate in Nongoma, was found burnt beyond recognition in his bakkie on October 26, five days before local government elections on November 1. He had sustained gunshot wounds, but the family was able to identify him by his feet, which were the only part not burnt. This was corroborated by DNA results.
In a statement issued by the party general secretary Canaan Mdletshe on Tuesday morning, the party said a woman was arrested by police and is believed to be the one who masterminded Qwabe’s murder, adding that the woman will appear at eNgoje Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
“This suspect is believed to be a mastermind in plotting a hit on Cde Qwabe as she is the one who kept on calling, ensuring that Qwabe left his home straight into the lion's den, where his would-be killers were waiting,” read the party statement.
The investigation into Qwabe’s killing was taken over by a police political killings unit which reports directly to Police Minister Bheki Cele. The minister’s spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, confirmed the arrest but could not provide further details.
In terms of the Electoral Act, the ward residents must continue voting for the dead candidate, and if he or she wins, a by-election must be called to replace him or her.
Qwabe won the ward, and Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) spokesperson Thabani Ngwira said a by-election would be held on February 2 next year to replace Qwabe.