Son’s wild life ends in suicide

2010-11-25 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The son of the Gauteng premier, who apparently committed suicide on Tuesday, caused a sensation during his short life with his wild lifestyle and run-ins with the law.

Retlabusa Mokonyane (23), son of Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, was linked to a number of crimes, including a series of car thefts, alleged arson and driving under the influence of alcohol.

His body was found in a simplex in Bassonia, south of Johannesburg.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Neville Malila, said no foul play was suspected and that his death is being investigated.

“We are waiting for the official pathological results before we are able to disclose the cause of his death,” Malila said.

The premier’s spokesperson, Dumisani Zulu, said no statements will be issued by that office at this stage and asked for the privacy of the premier and her family to be respected.

“The family need time and space,” he said.

The Sunday Times reported recently that at least eight charges had been brought against Mokonyane. All the charges were later withdrawn.

In July 2010 Mokonyane was linked to an explosion at a home in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg, after which a house was partially burnt down and an alleged stolen vehicle destroyed.

The premier later visited the residents of that house and according to a report by the Mail & Guardian (M&G), offered to pay for the damages.

Beeld reported in May 2009 that Retlabusa was questioned by police in connection with alleged theft in Krugersdorp after allegedly stealing a bakkie.

His mother had just been elected premier.

Mokonyane was arrested at his mother’s house in Krugersdorp and later released without being charged. At that stage he had allegedly been involved in five other crimes in the Krugersdorp area.

In 2006 Ivy Chokoe was seriously injured when the state vehicle of Nomvula Mokonyane, who at the time was still MEC for housing, was involved in a collision in Kagiso. Chokoe claimed that a friend of the Mokonyane children was driving the BMW.

Retlabusa Mokonyane also allegedly collided with a police vehicle on November 7 while clearly under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested, but released shortly afterwards.

On November 21, 2009 the DA asked for an investigation to be launched into the “suspicious withdrawal of charges” against Mokonyane.

“We want to know whether it was due to poor police work, a lack of witnesses, or interference by high-ranking parties,” said DA spokesperson Jack Bloom.

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