Supporters of double-murder accused Mandla Msibi demand his reinstatement as MEC
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Pretoria - Double-murder accused and former Mpumalanga agricultural development, land and environmental affairs MEC Mandla Msibi’s supporters have demanded that he be reinstated as MEC.
The supporters, some clad in ANC regalia, sporadically closed roads in Mbombela yesterday, calling for Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane to reinstate Msibi with immediate effect.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said the protesters torched one truck in Pienaar and burnt tyres on the R40. Roads going in and out of Kanyamazane and Pienaar were closed by protesters early yesterday.
Mdhluli said: “There were no arrests as yet, but police managed to defuse the tension. Investigations are under way.”
The embattled ANC PEC member and former provincial election boss has since
stepped aside from his ANC duties in accordance with ANC resolutions.
He was fired as MEC by Mtshweni-Tsipane after he was arrested earlier this month, alongside ANC colleagues Joseph Charlie Ngwenya, 35, and Tshepo Matsane, 30. The trio are accused of the fatal shooting of Sindela Sipho Lubisi and Dingane Ngwenya, and of leaving Sifiso Mpila injured outside a popular shisa nyama in Mbombela.
The accused were all granted R20 000 bail by the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court last Tuesday after spending more than a week behind bars.
Neither Msibi nor the ANC spokesperson in the province, Sasekani Manzini, could be reached for comment.
An ANC insider in Mpumalanga said Msibi’s supporters were looking ahead to the ANC elective conference early next year, hoping to install him as chairperson of the province. “Msibi has a big following, particularly in the Lowveld, Mbombela, Pienaar and so on. They (his supporters) know that if he were to succeed to be provincial chairperson, he would have to start lobbying now. But he can’t when he is on the sidelines.”
Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison Vusi Shongwe condemned the violence and said: “Many people were unable to go to work and children cannot go to school.
“We are not a lawless state. Any person whose actions sabotage the economy must be harshly dealt with.”