KZN bodyguard scandal deepens

2013-10-17 12:13
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Pietermaritzburg - Another former VIP bodyguard - and now aide - to the mayor at the centre of the latest N3 “blue light” shooting incident is also a convicted criminal linked to the murder of KZN Midlands warlord Sifiso Nkabinde.

On Wednesday The Witness revealed how Thulasizwe Dennis Mbanjwa was convicted on charges relating to Nkabinde’s death in 1999. He is a VIP bodyguard charged in the recent N3 highway “blue light” shooting incident.

It has now emerged that Anil Jelal - protocol officer to uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee - was also a key conspirator in the Nkabinde affair.

Nkabinde, a notorious warlord and ANC boss-turned-foe, ruled Richmond in a reign of terror until he was gunned down in 1999.

Some 11 ANC cadres were killed in apparent revenge the same day.

Convicted

Jelal, formerly of Richmond, was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to Nkabinde’s murder and for the unlawful possession of a machine gun.

He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in October 2000 and subsequently paroled.

Today Jelal is a protocol officer and mayoral aide but between 2006 to 2008 he headed the municipality’s VIP unit.

Both Jelal and Mbanjwa have been employed at the municipality since 2006 when the district mayor was Bongi Sithole.

Prior to his imprisonment, Jelal was the South African Police’s head of crime prevention and rural safety in Richmond in 1997 and 1998.

He was later acting station commissioner at the Richmond police station from 1998 to 1999.

At the time of his arrest, he was the bodyguard of the Richmond mayor, Andrew Ragavaloo.

Parole conditions

The Witness can also reveal that both Mbanjwa and Jelal’s parole conditions preclude them from using or carrying a firearm - in sharp contrast to their roles as VIP bodyguards.

The N3 “blue-light” shooting victim, who asked to be named only as Wynand, said he was shocked at the revelations.

“Jislaaik, I am totally shocked and blown away. I never imagined I would be caught up in something like this,” he said.

“I can’t believe someone with a record like that is still employed by government. A criminal record check was done on me by my employer. But his criminal record is overlooked,” said Wynand.

Expressing concern for his safety now, Wynand said he believed Mbanjwa was a danger to society. He said he would be employing a lawyer to keep a watching brief over the court case.

“Knowing the history now I sure as hell am taking more care and looking over my shoulder more often now,” said Wynand.

No comment

Jelal was not available to comment despite various attempts to speak to him.

UMDM municipal manager Sbu Khuzwayo refused to confirm Jelal’s employment with the municipality.

“I wish to reiterate that the matters raised about the appointment of bodyguards are at the core of the confidential employer-employee relationship which is underpinned by relevant labour legislation.

“Furthermore, this matter is now the subject of the official SAPS investigation, which must be allowed to run its full course without any undue influence,” said Khuzwayo in a statement.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said at this stage uMgungundlovu District, as Mbanjwa’s employer, should respond to all questions.

“We only read about this in the media and we have requested a full report on the matter. At this stage we don’t have the merits of the matter.

“First we need to get all the facts on this matter and only after we see the report can we decide if there is a need for us to intervene,” said Mabaso.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  local government  |  blue light incidents

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