Withdrawal of arson charge a huge relief for Shelembe

2011-11-08 00:00

FORMER Msunduzi deputy mayor Alpha Shelembe said yesterday that the withdrawal of the arson charge levelled against him was a huge weight off his shoulders.

Shelembe told The Witness that although he was confident he would not be found guilty of masterminding the arson attack on the ANC’s Jabu Ndlovu Street offices on June 12, it still bothers him that he, of all people, was implicated.

He said his implication in the arson was crafted by individuals who had motives against him.

“I got a call from my lawyers stating that the charge against me was withdrawn. I am relieved that this is behind me now because it divided comrades; some believed it, some did not believe it. This tainted my image,” said Shelembe.

He said that while facing the charge, he trusted that the courts would eventually find him innocent and that the truth about who had set the fire would come out. He challenged those who know who had set the fire to come forward and inform the police.

Those who “ran” to the media and claimed that he was involved in the arson attack must also come forward and explain to the authorities who had set the fire.

“I would like to thank my family, those who believed and supported me, the leadership of the ANC Moses Mabhida region and those who prayed for me for this dark cloud over my head to go away.”

Shelembe said that being charged with the arson attack had put pressure on him to resign.

Shelembe stepped down as deputy mayour on June 21.

Asked about his future, he said he would consult his lawyer, who is out of town, to see whether they could pursue the matter of him being charged or not.

“I will seek advice from the ANC leadership and to get what this [withdrawing of charges] means politically for me,” he added.

The secretary of the ANC Moses Mabhida Region, Supa Zuma, said the party will issue a statement soon on the matter and that the ANC is calling on the law to ensure that the person who torched the offices is caught and tried.

thandom@witness.co.za

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