Shooting: Mayor's bodyguard at large

2009-01-05 00:00

The bodyguard of Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo, who is a suspect in the murder of a man in Dambuza on Sunday, is still at large.

The bodyguard, Nkosi Ngubane, who was off duty at the time of the incident, is one of three suspects in the alleged shooting of Sibusiso Mahlaba (26).

Mahlaba, who was shot in the chest, died at Edendale Hospital.

The deceased’s brother, Botsotso Mahlaba, who is a well- known praise singer, said that Ngubane and his brother were friends. Botsotso said his brother was driving on the main road in Dambuza when he met Ngubane, who was travelling with two other people.

He said his brother stopped to chat with the bodyguard and his friends, and alleges that his brother was shot after he asked about the other men’s sexual escapades.

“He [the bodyguard] fled the scene, but returned a few minutes later. He took my brother to Edendale [Hospital], where he was declared dead after an operation on his chest,” said Botsotso.

Police spokesman Superintendent Henry Budhram said that after being shot, the deceased lost control of his vehicle, which veered into a fence.

Budhram said further investigations have established that the shooter “playfully” produced a firearm and while pointing it in the direction of Mahlaba, a shot went off, hitting Mahlaba.

“At this stage, police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting and the two remaining occupants [of the car] are still at large, one of which is believed to be a bodyguard attached to the mayor.

“Attempts to arrest the remaining occupants are underway and their arrests are imminent.

“Their vehicle has since been impounded,” said Budhram.

Sources, who did not want to be named for fear of being victimised, allege that Ngubane is known for his quick temper and for discharging his firearm when involved in arguments and in fights.

The sources said they were stunned to discover that the bodyguard is working for the municipality and that ratepayers are enabling him to carry and use a firearm.

The sources allege that the bodyguard has “terrorised” kwaPata residents; firing shots at “friends” who disagree with him in discussions.

Hlatshwayo said she was not aware of the shooting and will comment once she has obtained all the details of the incident.

Asked about screening processes for those hired as bodyguards at the municipality, acting municipal manager Phil Mashoko said the employment of bodyguards is in accordance with employment policies and procedures.

“The job requires certain skills, attributes and qualifications, which are all considered during the employment process. Reference checks are done as per the council policy.”

thandom@witness.co.za

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