Battle ends for Nkambule

2010-10-10 14:43

The man who made allegations of a hitman targeting ­high-profile politicians, James Nkambule, has died after a ­battle with cancer.

Nkambule (37) – a former ­provincial ANCYL secretary and current Congress of the People secretary in Ehlanzeni, Mpumalanga – died on Thursday night, just a few days after police arrested five suspects in connection with last year’s murder of Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala. Mohlala was killed after he blew the whistle on tender ­corruption in the R1.2-billion Mbombela stadium.

Nkambule alleged that a ­Mozambican hitman – known as Josh – approached him to spill the beans and he helped him write an affidavit, in which he alleged that a senior politician had given him a hit list with the names of people to ­assassinate.

Nkambule said in April this year: “I’m not involved in this whole thing. My role is that I was approached by a person (Josh) who is scared for his life.”

And, in a premonition, he added: “I know that I’m walking on a tightrope, but good ­triumphs over evil. With the ­little time I have left, let me do the right thing.”

Nkambule said on Wednesday that the arrests this week were a farce.

“This is a big smokescreen to cover up for someone. They want it to appear that ­something is being done about the ­assassinations,” he said.

Nkambule then declined to speak on the record about the details of the case being handled properly at national level.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlathi rubbished the existence of Josh, while National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele’s spokesperson, Major-General Nonkululeko Mbatha, could not respond to questions on ­whether national police were ­investigating the Josh issue.

Nkambule was facing charges of conspiracy to commit crime, defeating the ends of justice, ­incitement and fraud – all ­emanating from his claims about the hitman.

He said these charges were a “pre-emptive strike” to divert attention from the killings.

Family spokesperson Collen Ndlovu said that Nkambule ­collapsed on Thursday night.

“He was fine and had a ­normal day. In the night he ­collapsed and was gone in a few minutes,” Ndlovu said.

Nkambule was a rising star in the ANC, but his career nose- dived as he was often branded an agent provocateur for ­making inflammatory allegations against his comrades.

He accused former Mpumalanga premier and current ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa, ­businessman Cyril Ramaphosa and human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale of conspiring to topple former president Thabo Mbeki.

He retreated to his home in Barberton, became a Muslim and started a newspaper, The Truth, which laid bare ANC leaders’ “dirty ­laundry”.

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