Slain ANC whip was a mayoral contender

2011-01-08 20:12

Johan Ndlovu, the Mpumalanga politician who was murdered this week, was among the top contenders for the ­position of mayor in the Ehlanzeni ­district council.

According to three sources – one on the ANC provincial executive committee, another on the Ehlanzeni council and ­another in the ANC’s Bohlabela ­region (Bushbuckridge) – Ndlovu’s name was being bandied about to succeed Khosi Mkhonto after this year’s municipal ­-elections.

Ehlanzeni is one of Mpumalanga’s three districts. It incorporates the capital city, Mbombela (Nelspruit), and 10 smaller towns. Ndlovu was the council’s ANC chief whip.

He was shot dead at dawn on Wednesday. His body was dumped at Luphungu and his car abandoned 20km away in Dumphries.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Captain Leornard Hlathi said five ­suspects were arrested on Friday and would appear in court tomorrow.

The sources said the race for the ­position was between Ndlovu and his two homeboys – Ehlanzeni speaker ­Caswell Maluleke and Bushbuckridge mayor Milton Morema – as Mkhonto had apparently fallen out of favour.

“Ndlovu was established in the district council and some branches were mentioning his name. All these three men come from Bohlabela,” said the ANC provincial executive committee member.

Ndlovu’s murder is reminiscent of an ­attempt on Maluleke’s life in April 2000.

Maluleke survived after he was shot 14 times.

At that time, Maluleke was Bushbuckridge mayor and had been appointed to coordinate the establishment of the defunct Bohlabela district municipality in Limpopo. He was promoted to be the new district’s executive mayor.

“I’m trying to forget that incident. ­Nobody was arrested for the attempt on my life and it happened on the day I was appointed to coordinate the establishment of the district,” Maluleke said.

Bohlabela district was phased out when Bushbuckridge was redemarcated into Mpumalanga.

Ndlovu’s murder has struck a chord among Mpumalanga politicians. The province is notorious for assassinations and ­politicians living under protection in fear for their lives.

South African Communist Party ­provincial secretary Bonakele Majuba commended the police for the arrests.

“However, these murders will continue if police arrest foot soldiers and not the kingpins.

“They must uproot this problem. We can’t say these murders are isolated ­incidents,” Majuba said.

Provincial Democratic Alliance leader Anthony Benadie said: “It is becoming blatantly apparent that such murderous acts have become the norm and appear to be the manner with which political ­opponents are being dealt with. Too many politicians have now been killed for these incidents to be merely labelled as random acts of crime.”

Benadie questioned the ability of ­Mpumalanga police to solve the murders and asked why national ­police commissioner General Bheki Cele appeared to be ­“unmoved” as he had not ordered a ­full-scale investigation.

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