Riot squads on alert in Mpumalanga

2011-01-10 22:43

Bushbuckridge - Heavily armoured police riot squads have been placed on alert to protect Mpumalanga politicians accused of complicity in the murder of chief whip of the Ehlanzeni district municipality, Johan Ndlovu.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi confirmed on Monday that public order policing units have been deployed into the volatile Bushbuckridge area, along with additional police officers from neighbouring police stations.

"We are using the additional manpower to prevent any further vigilante attacks. This follows the attack on a house on Friday, when the community attacked the house of a relative of a councillor," said Hlathi.

"We dashed to the house after getting a tip-off, but the first vehicle to arrive was badly damaged. All its windows were smashed. When extra manpower arrived, we managed to arrest 39 (protesters)."

The increased security also follows a mass protest by demonstrators at the Mhala magistrate's courts on Monday, where villagers demanded that bail not be granted to suspects arrested for the murder last week.

Police arrested five suspects who are believed to be part of the same gang, but charges were dropped against two of the suspects as they could not be linked directly to Ndlovu's murder.

The three who will continue to face trial are Bongani Mkasi, 27, of Belfast village near Hazyview and Life Khoza, 22, and Mundi Khoza, 23, from Tshabalala village, also near Hazyview.

Linked to other case

They were were not asked to plead to charges of armed robbery, the possession of an unlicensed firearm and murder.

The were remanded in custody until January 19.

Hlathi said that although two suspects were let off the hook for the Ndlovu murder, they were linked to a separate case of kidnapping and robbery in Pilgrim's Rest, for which they appeared in the Graskop magistrate's court on Monday.

The 39 people arrested for the Friday attack also appeared in the Mhala magistrate's court on Monday on charges of public violence.

They were released on warning until February 28.

Ndlovu was found with multiple gunshot wounds in bushes near his home in Edinburgh village (also known as Luphungu), in Thulamahashe, on January 5.

He is not the only Ehlanzeni district official to be attacked. On Christmas Eve, disaster management officer Portia Mlangeni was shot at her home in KaNyamazane outside Mbombela.

Dodgy circumstances

Nothing was stolen. She is currently in intensive care and no one has been arrested for her attack.

Since 1998, 13 politicians or politically-connected officials have died under dodgy circumstances in Mpumalanga.

There has been some media speculation that Ndlovu may have been killed because of a mayoral dispute. The City Press reported that Ndlovu was the top contender for the position of Ehlanzeni mayor.

The other contenders were Caswell Maluleke, who is the current speaker, and Milton Morema, current mayor of Bushbuckridge local municipality.

On Monday, provincial ANC spokesperson Paul Mbenyane said there was no talk of or plans to appoint any of the three men as Ehlanzeni mayor.

“This is just media speculation and it will remain that way," he said.

He said only the police could prove if Ndlovu's murder was political or not.

  • GT - 2011-01-10 22:53

    The most dangerous and corrupt place in southern africa outside of zimbabwe. Lawless is not the word and I fear that if national government does not sort these criminals out soon, we are in for a very messy time in that part of the world.

      Saamprater - 2011-01-11 06:26

      You are asking a lot. How can you expect a bunch of (Alleged)criminal infested people (ANC and the SAPS) to sort out other criminals? The opposition will be wiped out. This is what happens when a revolutionary party that takes over a country. The day the ANC becomes a political party things will change for the better.

  • Allin - 2011-01-11 06:23

    Having worked there for some time I KNOW ALL Mamparalanga politicians are corrupt and could be locked up for years.

  • ArtGee - 2011-01-11 06:29

    Looks like the Natives are getting RESTLESS!!! Tired of CORRUPT OFFICIALS?

  • RedRum Jeste - 2011-01-11 07:06

    Just the next guy who wants to get his hands in the state coffers....

  • 1gascan - 2011-01-11 07:07

    Funny, wasn't JZ and Juliarse in Mpumalanga recently rallying the troops and brainwashing more innocent victims...?? Get them involved to sort the sh#t out - oh wait, they can't! Funny how the sh#t follows when they leave...

  • Zeth - 2011-01-11 07:36

    Oh Africa........ When us whites arrived here we brought all this corruption in the name of the Queen. We destroyed a perfect and natural way of life. Now the Africans have tasted the apple too and are infected with greed too. When will we realize that this system has to end!!

      Zeth - 2011-01-11 07:40

      Please see: if you would like to understand more about how this system is the only obstacle blocking our true happiness.

      rade8408 - 2011-01-11 09:22

      Africa was an idyllic wonderland before us whites arrived. No wars, no murders, no theft, no rape. Apparently it was like a huge hippy commune where everyone danced and frolicked in fields of flowers at peace with mother earth. Get real.

  • briansmith702 - 2011-01-11 08:21

    Bunch of barbarians.

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