Five people have been remanded in custody after they were arrested for the murder of Dr Malekutu Johannes Mehlape, the circuit manager for the Limpopo education department.
Dr Mehlape was shot dead, while in his house at Mankweng Zone 1, on December 28.
The five accused people include Dr Mehlape’s daughter Mologadi and his sister-in-law - Mahlodi Melida Mathole.
“A school principal, who is also a sister in-law of the deceased, Mahlodi Melida Mathole, 42, Sello Michael Molongoane, 49, Hlolofelo Mogotlane, 33, Tshepo Ranoto, 34 and Mologadi Mehlape, 28 were all remanded in police custody and the matter was postponed to next week Thursday for formal bail application and further police investigations,” according to Limpopo police spokesperson,” Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said.
The suspects are facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm.
Following further intensive investigations into the brutal murder of the Limpopo education official, two additional suspects were arrested separately, on Wednesday.
“The principal aged 42 was arrested at Moremadi Park after the warrant of arrest was issued. Then, positive leads resulted in the arrest of a 49-year-old man, who was found in his hiding spot at Mahwelereng Zone 1,” said Ledwaba.
The 49-year-old man arrested on Wednesday was found in possession of ammunition and a 9mm firearm with a filed-off serial number.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the recovered firearm is believed to have been utilized during the murder of Dr Mehlape at Mankweng Zone1,” said Ledwaba.
“In the past weeks, the (initial) three suspects (Mologadi Mehlape, Mogotlane, and Ranoto) were arrested separately in Mankweng and Zebediela by a team of investigators, including the provincial tracking team, provincial murder and robbery members, as well as private security companies.”
During the arrest, a double cab Ford Ranger, which was allegedly used to commit the crime, was confiscated.
“According to information received, the deceased's daughter was ambushed when she returned from a function and forced inside the house. The suspects demanded to know the whereabouts of Dr Mehlape and robbed one of two people they had rounded up inside,” said Ledwaba.
“The armed suspects then combed the house and found Dr Mehlape. They allegedly demanded cash, and after he gave them, they shot him and fled the scene.”
Earlier this month, IOL reported that Dr Mehlape was buried on January 6, and the provincial education department held a memorial service in his honour at the University of Limpopo, Tiro Hall.
The department said Dr Mehlape was also the head of exams and assessments for the Mankweng Cluster and was dedicated to the development and dignity of learners and teachers in the Mankweng Cluster.
Limpopo Education MEC Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya at the time said Dr Mehlape had diligently led one of the best-performing circuits for 15 years in the Capricorn South District.
He said it was a great loss to the sector, and his passing would leave a big void in the district, where he was responsible for overseeing 12 secondary and 18 primary schools.
“I am saddened by the sad news of the passing of one of the brilliant minds in the education sector, our circuit manager, Dr Mehlape.
“My sincere condolences to his children who were in the house when the criminals took his life,” said MEC Lerule-Ramakhanya.
“I was looking forward to seeing him and other hard-working colleagues when we award our top matric achievers in January.”