No comfort for family mourning son’s murder after alleged mastermind assassinated
Durban - The assassination of the alleged mastermind in the murder of Andile “Bobo” Mbuthu has brought no comfort to his grieving family but opened old wounds as they remember his death a year on.
The community of Tongaat who witnessed the killing unfold celebrated by ululating and breaking into song when the identification of the deceased was made public.
Murder accused, Mlungisi Thabethe, 28, was killed on Thursday morning while driving towards the Hambanathi township near Tongaat. He was shot several times.
According to witnesses, occupants of a white Toyota Quest opened fire on his vehicle and it came to a stop behind the Shree Veeraboga Emperumal Temple. He was found slumped over the passenger seat with multiple gunshot wounds.
Thabethe, Andile Nhleko, 27, Mncedisi Mzobe, 27, Siyanda Msweli, 26, Lindani Ndlovu, 22, Malusi Mthembu 27 and another minor suspect were arrested in July following Mbuthu’s assault and disappearance from Hambanathi tavern, co-owned by Thabethe. Mbuthu had been accused of stealing alcohol. His remains were later found in a bag filled with bricks dumped in a Tongaat river.
Mbuthu’s mother, Gugulethu, said the incident happened not too far from their home and that she was shocked by the community’s reaction. Instead of showing sympathy, community members celebrated when Thabethe lay dead in his car.
“It’s proof that he was a monster,” she said. “We are not afraid of what anyone else might think because we would never be involved in such a cruel killing. Everything is in God’s hands.”
Gugulethu said it was still hard to accept that her son was gone but was trusting that the law would take its course.
“I am hopeful that the justice system will be fair to us,” she said.
Zanele Khumalo, ANC ward councillor, condemned the celebrations saying the deceased and his family were not shown any sympathy. While Thabethe was still in his car and a mortuary van on route, photos and videos of him were widely shared which resulted in people gathering at the crime scene in numbers.
“They were marching and singing, but that was not appropriate. Andile was brutally murdered and perhaps the community saw this as payback, but no one should have behaved the way many did,” she said. “I tried to control the crowd, but that didn’t help.”
Khumalo said she suspected that celebrations would continue until the funeral.
Thembeka Mbele, provincial police spokesperson, confirmed that the deceased was a suspect in the murder case.
"The deceased has been appearing in court for the killing of Andile Bobo Mbuthu and he was out on bail and was signing at Umhlali Police Station as one of his bail conditions. At the moment, the motive of the killing is unknown but is subject to investigation."
The suspects were currently out on bail and the family would be going back to court in May.