Russell Ngubo to remain in jail

2019-12-19 16:39
Former ANC branch chairperson Russel Ngubo won’t be released on parole.

Former ANC branch chairperson Russel Ngubo won’t be released on parole.

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The Correctional Services Department has blocked the release of former ANC branch chairperson and prison boss, Russel Ngubo, who was due to be freed on parole yesterday.

Ngubo is in prison for the murder of Impendle IFP Induna Ernest Nzimande, in the 90s.

Ngubo, who has been accused of a string of murders during the ANC/IFP violence that claimed several lives in Impendle, had been making preparations for his release from Pie-termaritzburg’s New Prison when he was told that the national Correctional Services top brass had overturned the decision by local prison bosses that he be released on parole.

In a letter dated December 17 and addressed to the KZN Correctional Services regional commissioner, Deputy Director for Parole Administration NN Moreni said Ngubo should stay in prison pending the outcome of the process reviewing the decision to release him.

“The decision of the parole board is therefore suspended until the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board (CSPRB) decision is made known,” he said.

Ngubo, who was imprisoned in 2005, was initially released on parole in 2017 after serving 12 years of his 25-year sentence.

However, he was sent back to prison in April 2017 amid claims that he had violated his parole conditions by amongst other things, threatening ANC members with violence during a branch meeting in Impendle.

Despite the Pietermaritzburg high court having recently dismissed Ngubo’s application for a review of the decision to revoke his parole, the Pietermaritzburg Parole Board early this month resolved to release him for the second time.

According to sources within Correctional Services, New Prison managers who were not happy with the board’s decision to release Ngubo, had submitted a memorandum to the department’s regional bosses demanding a review of the board’s decision to release Ngubo on parole. “The managers were worried that Ngubo’s release could destabilise the peace in Impendle, particularly given that there were reported problems in the area the previous time he was released.

“Certain ANC members in Impendle have also made it clear that they were scared for their lives should Ngubo be released.

“The managers were of the view that the board had ignored all these important factors,” a source said.

ANC members in Impendle who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that there were fears that Ngubo’s release could lead to violence in the area.

“The problem is that he [Ngubo] is part of an ANC faction here in Impendle and that faction wants to use him to intimidate people so that it can take over the ANC in the area.

“This is why when Ngubo was released the first time he intimidated us during an ANC meeting and told us that he had come out to clean the ANC in the area.

“As we speak, his supporters were planning a massive welcome party at the local hall and there is no doubt that they would have used the event to make threats to anyone who was not part of the Ngubo faction,” a source within the ANC in Impendle said.

However, Mondli Cekwane, the ANC Impendle ward 1 chairperson where the controversial meeting attended by Ngubo took place, denied that the release of Ngubo posed a threat to peace in the area. “Look, if a person says I’m scared of so and so, who am I to dismiss their fear. But the fact of the matter is that Ngubo has not done anything that I can say can cause a person to be fearful of him. Even in that meeting which he attended, he merely raised concerns about the manner in which ANC affairs were being handled. In fact, it was not only him who raised some concerns at that meeting, many of us did,” he said.

On the welcoming party that was being planned by Ngubo’s supporters, Cekwane said he was not part of the organising committee. “However, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was to be something like that, particularly given that Ngubo is a highly respected ANC leader in the Impendle area.

“Even the last time when he was released, there was a big party. People here still don’t understand why he is still being kept in jail, everyone was expecting him to come out of prison ...” he said.

A close ally of former ANC Midlands warlord, Sifiso Nkabinde, Ngubo, who was the New Prison’s boss shortly before his 2005 imprisonment, is among other things, accused of using prison guards as assassins during the height of the 90s political violence in Impendle pitting ANC and IFP supporters.

• clive.ndou@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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