Wife’s killers still at large

2013-10-24 00:00

THE murder of prominent Pietermaritzburg gynaecologist Dr Sabera Bhamjee remains unsolved seven years later — largely because the crime scene was contaminated before police arrived.

She was stabbed more than 60 times with a medical instrument at her medical practice at St Anne’s hospital.

The doctor’s murder has come under the spotlight following a recent shooting on the N3 involving the use of bodyguards by her widower, uMgungundlovu district mayor Yusuf Bhamjee.

Bhamjee’s bodyguards — Thulasizwe Mbanjwa and Sithembiso Mokoena — have been charged with attempted murder for allegedly firing at a motorist while escorting him to Durban.

It has also been established that Bhamjee and his deputy mayor have 11 bodyguards between them, with seven of those allocated exclusively to Bhamjee. The bodyguards were hired by his predecessor, Bongi Sithole.

uMgungundlovu municipal manager Sibusiso Khuzwayo said Bhamjee needed the seven bodyguards because his wife’s assassins were “still at large”.

“Not so long ago the mayor’s wife, Dr Sabera, was brutally murdered, with 60 stab wounds, in 2006 by unknown assassins who are still at large. Although the details and findings of the security assessment that was done cannot be released, this incident must have been given due consideration when the mayor’s security was being assessed,” said Khuzwayo.

But The Witness has established from intelligence sources that there has never been a direct threat on Bhamjee’s life.

“We have never had reason for concern regarding mayor Bhamjee then or now. He is one of the mayors that are least at risk. That is why he ventures out on weekends without his bodyguards and drives himself around,” said a source in the intelligence services.

Khuzwayo, however, refused to comment, saying security information was strictly confidential.

“My understanding of security intelligence is that it is strictly confidential. Your sources must therefore reveal themselves and declare in public that Mr Bhamjee faces no threat. Only then will I respond to your questions,” said Khuzwayo.

Police sources close to the Bhamjee murder investigation said although no suspect was arrested, there has never been any evidence to suggest that her husband was at risk.

“It has been impossible to arrest anyone in the case because the crime scene was contaminated. By the time police got to the scene, paramedics and doctors had already been there in a bid to resuscitate the doctor. Trying to gather information at the scene was a pointless exercise for us as vital evidence had been destroyed,” said the investigator.

uMgungundlovu DA whip Moira Grueneberg said they would ask why the municipality had employed 11 bodyguards at a cost of R1,3 million a year.

“The DA is concerned about this as the municipality is a grant-dependent institution that is struggling to meet its service delivery objectives while grappling with an incomplete indigent register and billing system,” she said.

Bhamjee was not available for comment. Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane also did not respond to requests for comment.

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