Murder: councillors in court

2012-07-17 00:00

FOUR suspended National Freedom Party (NFP) members made a brief appearance at the Msinga Magistrate’s Court yesterday for the murder and attempted murder of party members.

Nonsindiso Dlamini (22), Mkhonzeni Ntuli (37) and Mlindeli Mchunu (31), who are councillors at Msinga local municipality, together with Mzonjani Mgwaba (41), a bodyguard to Msinga Deputy mayor Mjabulelwa Mkhize, were remanded in custody.

At the time of their arrest, Mgwaba was found in possession of unlicensed ammunition.

They had since been suspended by the party after they were implicated in the murders of NFP organisers Bongani Shelembe, Lungile Zuma and the attempted murder of Thulephi Mbatha.

Mkhize could not be reached for comment.

KZN Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu applauded the police for the breakthrough in arresting the suspects.

“Police have expertise and vigour to fight all forms of crime. The arrest of the suspects in this case, including councillors, is a clear example that nobody is above the law.

“We will be monitoring very closely the developments as this case unfolds in court,” said Mchunu.

He appealed to community members to work with the police to root out crime in society.

NFP national chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe urged party members to let the law take its course.

“We need to wait until police get to the bottom of the killing of our members. We are happy that arrests were made. We have since suspended them from the party,” said Shelembe.

On the day of the incident, Bongani Shelembe (not related to Maliyakhe), a businessman from Msinga, and NFP youth movement secretary Lungile Zuma and Mbatha, were returning from the party’s constituency meeting at about 5 pm, on April 29.

The three were travelling in Shelembe’s white Mercedes Benz on the R53 between Greytown and Dundee in the Msangeni area when four people riddled their vehicle with bullets.

Mbatha was seriously injured and hospitalised. Police recovered AK47 cartridges on the crime scene.

Nhlanhla Shelembe, the brother of the deceased Shelembe, said they were happy that suspects have been arrested. “We will wait for the law to take its course,” he said.

The accused will be back in court on July 25 and 26 for formal bail application.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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