Prison van ride for Shelembe group

2011-06-22 00:00

MSUNDUZI Deputy Mayor Alpha Shelembe, left the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court in a prison van yesterday, just before bowing out of his council position, but he was not under arrest.

A large crowd of anti-Shelembe protesters gathered at the magistrate’s court yesterday where Shelembe, his wife Joyful, sister Nelisiwe and four other accused appeared in connection with corruption charges. The crowd chanted and toyi-toyied to express their disapproval of Shelembe’s re-election to public office.

Meanwhile, there has been no indication how far police are with their investigations into allegations by former ANC driver Themba Mbona, who pleaded guilty last week to setting fire to the ANC’s offices and claimed he’d been enticed to do so by promises made to him by Shelembe.

Anxious to avoid the disgruntled crowd and ensure that Shelembe and his family received a safe passage from the courthouse yesterday, the deputy mayor’s bodyguard approached police to escort Shelembe from the building.

The Shelembe trio and several relatives or supporters were taken out of court via a back entrance, but because the protesters were blocking the gates outside the car park, it was decided it would be safer for them to leave the premises in a prison van.

The crowd was distracted by the fact that Shelembe’s bodyguard’s vehicle remained in the car park while he and his family boarded the prison van and were spirited to safety.

Asked why special treatment appeared to have been offered to Shelembe, a source at the courts said this was not the intention, but that court staff and police were intent on carrying out their duty to ensure that no unruly incidents occurred inside the premises.

Earlier Shelembe and his wife and sister appeared alongside KwaZulu-Natal businessman Lucky Moloi, Neville Watts, Themba Zungu and Thembinkosi Xaba in the dock in the regional court in connection with allegations that they benefited from a corrupt property deal in 2003.

Regional magistrate Jaco Jordaan yesterday cancelled a warrant of arrest authorised on a previous occasion for Moloi, who failed to appear when required to do so. The reasons for Moloi’s failure to appear that day were not spelt out in court, but the state agreed that the warrant should be withdrawn.

Jordaan adjourned the case until July 12 to enable the accused to ensure that their legal representatives are paid and warned them to be ready to proceed to trial on September 5.

The case has been set down for hearing on September 30.

The allegations against the accused are that they colluded to persuade the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to buy the MIB building in Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street during 2003 at an inflated price of R6 850 000 and that Watts, Zungu and Alpha Shelembe shared R1 million “commission” between them.

The other accused are alleged to have helped launder the money to conceal its origin.

At the time the three men were councillors in the uMgungundlovu Municipality.

Watts was a private property agent who allegedly negotiated the purchase of the property which was earmarked for use as office and parking space.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.