Council woman up for murder

2010-06-24 00:00

AN ANC town councillor, who is also a secretary for the party’s women’s league in Howick, has been charged with murder, attempted murder and arson and appeared in court yesterday morning.

Goodness Mchunu (36), who is the younger sister of uMngeni Deputy Mayor Ningi Mkhize, and her alleged accomplice, Senzo Sikhakhane, were remanded in custody after appearing in the Howick Magistrate’s Court.

Mchunu was arres­ted on Monday following the death of her boyfriend’s nephew, Siyabonga Hlengwa, who was burnt beyond recognition on June 5.

It is alleged that Mchunu and a group of men, including Sikhakhane, set fire to her boyfriend’s outside room in Lidgetton near Howick at around midnight on June 5. Sikhakhane is believed to have been arrested on June 13, a day after Hlengwa’s funeral.

Siyabonga Hlengwa (21) and his relative, Mlungisi Mchunu (19), who escaped with minor injuries from the burning room, were sleeping in the outbuilding belonging to Mchunu’s boyfriend, Msawenkosi Hlengwa, when it caught fire.

It is believed that the attackers, three men and one woman, wanted to kill Msawenkosi Hlengwa.

But Msawenkosi was away and the two young men who happened to be sleeping in the room at the time became the victims.

Siyabonga’s aunt, Ntombi Hlengwa (29), said she saw him caught up in “blue flames”.

“We could not save Siyabonga because, as we threw water into the burning house, the fire became much stronger. The fire was only put out by a fire engine.

“By the time the fire was out, Siyabonga was already dead and was badly burnt. Mlungisi managed to escape from the burning room through a window.

“He sustained burn injuries on the head, ears, mouth and both arms. He was ta­ken to hospital,” said Ntombi.

“It was at about midnight when I was awoken by a noise outside my room.

“When I got out I saw a big fire around my brother’s mud room. I called neighbours to help.

“The fire was so huge that it also burnt two other outbuildings down. It was about to spread to the main house,” she added.

Ntombi said Sikhakhane was arrested after her relative brought him to the Hlengwas’ home to confess to the crime.

James Zondi, Msawenkosi Hlengwa’s brother, said the family does not know who set the fire.

He was also not aware that his brother’s girlfriend was arrested and that she has appeared in court.

Mkhize, Mchunu’s elder sister, who is the deputy mayor of uMngeni Municipality, confirmed that her sister has been arrested.

Mkhize, who also an ANC councillor in the area, confirmed that her sister is an ANC Women’s League Secretary in Ward 4 and a PR councillor in the same ward.

“But her position in the organisation has nothing to do with this. Someone wants to infiltrate this with politics.

“My sister even attended the funeral to prove that she had nothing to do with this [crime],” said Mkhize.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said Mchunu and Sikhakhane will return to court on June 28.

“They have been charged with murder, attempted murder and arson. They have been remanded in custody,” said Jeevan.

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