Mpumalanga police instructed to provide sufficient evidence, as third suspect in murder of ANC councillor in Mkhondo is released

Published Jan 19, 2023


Johannesburg - Mpumalanga SAPS have denied jumping the gun by arresting a person, who they have called a third suspect in the murder of Mkhondo councillor Sibonelo Mthembu Ntshangase and two others.

According to police, they told the media that the 40-year-old man would appear at the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court.

However, yesterday the police confirmed that the case was not enrolled due to insufficient evidence.

The latest ANC leader to be killed in the area is Ntshangase, 36, a local councillor for ward 12.

Sizwe Mbingo, 40, and Sandile Khumalo, 51, were gunned down in Longhomes Township in Mkhondo on, January 13.

This killing happened hardly two months after the assassination of another local leader who was also a councillor, as well as being Gert Sibande regional deputy chairperson, Muzi Manyathi.

Earlier this week police arrested former Mkhondo Municipality mayor Vusi Motha and charged him with possession of unlicensed firearm, alongside Wellington Sangweni who was charged with fraud, contravention of the FIrearms Control Act and contravention of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) Act.

Mpumalanga SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said police did not jump the gun, saying that they have to submit more evidence.

“The docket regarding the arrest of the third suspect in the murder case of the three deceased was not enrolled this morning at Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court.

“The prosecutor has instructed us to get sufficient evidence ... we have information that we are following, as soon as we connect the missing dots we will arrest the suspect and bring him back for prosecution. We are still adamant that he is the correct person. The person has been released,” said Mohlala.

National Prosecuting Authority Mpumalanga spokesperson Monica Nyuswa confirmed to “The Star” that the two suspects were remanded in custody pending their formal bail application until January 24, 2023.

Fikile Mbalula, the ANC secretary-general visited a number of places in the Mkhondo Municipality in Mpumalanga’s Gert Sibande region this week following the recent spate of killings that are suspected to be politically motivated.

On Monday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said a multi-disciplinary team will be established to deal with the political killings in Mpumalanga. He said they would deal with political killings like they have been doing in KwaZulu- Natal.

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The Star