Relief at last for Mchunu in 2015 murder case

2018-10-11 12:24
Former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu.

Former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu.

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In what will come as relief to former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu, who for years had been plagued by rumours of involvement in the 2015 murder of his bodyguard, Xolani Nkosi, two suspects have finally been arrested in connection with the killing.

Dumisane Cebekhulu (26) and Ntuthuko Mkhwananzi (24) appeared at the Empangeni Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after being nabbed by members of the Hawks for Nkosi’s murder. Nkosi, who at the time of his death was part of Mchunu’s security detail, died after being shot at by unknown people.

The Hawks, who previously classified Nkosi’s murder as political, on Wednesday confirmed that robbery and carjacking as opposed to politics, appear to be the motive in Nkosi’s murder.

“The suspects are facing murder, attempted carjacking and armed robbery. While we have to wait for the courts to determine the motive, we can’t rule out the possibility carjacking and robbery as motives,” said KZN Hawks spokesperson Captain Simpiwe Mhlongo.

While the Hawks had not officially announced it, the elite police unit — that is believed to have shifted the focus of its investigation just a few months ago — had for more than two years been following up on allegations that Nkosi’s murder was political. According to the rumours at the time, Mchunu co-opted Nkosi in a plot to assassinate the former premier’s political rival, Thulani Mashaba, who was also the ANC‘s Musa Dladla regional chairperson.

Following Mashaba’s death in July 2015 in a car accident, there was talk within an ANC faction opposed to Mchunu that the former premier got Nkosi killed after the bodyguard had allegedly threatened to spill the beans on the earlier plot to assassinate Mashaba.

Mchunu said he was looking forward to the trial and conviction of the two suspects as that would make it possible for people in the province to finally put an end to the rumours. “I’m relieved that people in the province, including Mashaba and Nkosi’s family, will finally know the truth. For a long time, members of the ANC in the province, the Hawks and ordinary citizens were duped into believing that I had something to do with death of the two,” he said.

Mchunu’s rivals in the province had used the rumour to get him voted out as the party’s provincial chairperson during the November 2015 provincial conference. He was subsequently removed as premier. “Even after prosecutors had declined to prosecute me on these matters, the Hawks continued investigating me,” he said.

However, Mhlongo denied that it was the Hawks’ decision to focus the Nkosi murder investigation on Mchunu. “The matter was being investigated by the political killings task team and the Hawks were only brought in because of their expertise. In any case, it is very common for the focus of an investigation to shift as more information becames available,” he said.

Mkhwananazi and Cebekhulu, both of whom have abandoned their bail applications, will return to court on November 6.

Read more on:    senzo mchunu  |  pietermaritzburg

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