Still no answers in Mbombela stadium murder, fraud cases

Nine years later, Mpumalanga police have failed to make a breakthrough in the assassination of former City of Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala.

Mohlala was shot dead on January 5 2009. He was exposing graft in the construction of the R1.2 billion Mbombela 2010 Fifa World Cup soccer stadium.

At the same time, the fraud and corruption case relating to the tender irregularities, which Mohlala died trying to expose, has collapsed under questionable circumstances. The matter is being investigated by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police. Sources from these two institutions told City Press the case has been sabotaged.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said Mohlala’s murder is still under investigation. He could not explain why it was taking so long to arrest the culprits.

“We are not hitting a wall … it’s just that some cases take longer to investigate,” Hlathi insisted. The docket went from the Hawks to a task team appointed by former national police commissioner Bheki Cele in 2011. It is now being investigated by the detective unit in Mpumalanga.

On October 4 2010, police arrested five suspects in connection with Mohlala’s assassination, but without any concrete evidence: Jenny Mabika (58), her son Sakhile (31), Moses Mahungela (33) and two policemen Musa Finish Mkhabela (31) of the KaNyamazane detective services and Dumisani Stanley Mhlanga (34) of the Nelspruit flying squad.

The police relied on an affidavit by Mabika’s other son, Evans, about two years after the murder.

Evans claimed he had witnessed his mother and the men hatching the plot to kill Mohlala and explained colourfully how they performed muti rituals in an attempt to send the police on a wild goose chase.

Charges against the five were withdrawn in the Nelspruit Regional Court on February 2012, due to insufficient evidence.

However, police management pursued misconduct charges against the two officers, despite the lack of evidence. Mkhabela and Mhlanga were suspended without pay.

Mhlanga died due to a stress-induced illness while Mkhabela was reinstated.

The SA Communist Party in Mpumalanga has been campaigning for the killings to be resolved. Party secretary Bonakele Majuba said they would not keep quiet until perpetrators were brought to book.

“We have to get who killed Mohlala and all others, irrespective of who they are. We can’t have criminals walking around while they’ve committed dastardly acts. The police must arrest criminals who kill people in the province,” Majuba said.

The murder case went cold but the Hawks pounced on August 15 2012, and made arrests pertaining to the stadium tender fraud.

They arrested Kaizer Chiefs Football Club manager Bobby Motaung, his business partner in Lefika Emerging Equity (Pty) Ltd Herbert Theledi and the company’s former chief executive officer Chris Grip.

They were charged with fraud relating to the design of the stadium.

They allegedly used a false tax certificate when they bid for the tender and allegedly forged the signature of former Mbombela municipal manager Sgananda Siboza to obtain a R1 million overdraft from a bank.

Although the charge for the stadium’s design was R143 million, Lefika was paid over R160 million.

A few days later, the Hawks arrested former Mbombela manager Jacob Dladla, Ehlanzeni District Municipality technical director Tebogo Kubeka and Grip’s lawyer Michael Ramos, on charges of theft, fraud and the alleged contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act relating to stadium tenders valued at R920 million.

These cases were combined. Prosecutor Patrick Nkuna wanted to transfer the case from the Nelspruit Regional Court to the Pretoria High Court, but the NPA bungled it.

They sent two letters to the court, one saying the case should continue in the regional court, and another saying it should be transferred.

The court withdrew the charges on June 24 2013 for the NPA to sort itself out. The case has since not been reinstated.

Nkuna, however, reissued summons to the suspects, which another prosecutor Willem van Zyl withdrew.

Former acting Hawks head, Major-General Berning Ntlemeza, took the docket from the investigator, Warrant Officer Mashudu Mashamba. Mashamba was forced to take a transfer to work in Giyani.

Sources within the NPA told City Press this week that the case was being sabotaged at the highest echelons of the NPA and the police.

“The investigation is complete, but certain sections in the NPA and police don’t want it to be investigated. All we hear now is that the docket has been destroyed. There’s a lot of backstabbing and some of our colleagues work with politicians,” the source said.

Still a target

The widow of a government official, who was assassinated eight years ago, at the height of political killings in Mpumalanga, believes she is also being targeted.

Pinky Mpatlanyane woke up on Tuesday morning to find her garage door in Stonehenge, Mbombela, open and a hole in her car’s windscreen. Nothing was stolen.

Mpatlanyane’s husband, Sammy, worked as spokesperson for the Mpumalanga department of culture, sport and recreation, was shot dead in his second floor bedroom on January 10 2010.

The motive is still unclear, but he was involved in organising the hosting of the World Cup in Mpumalanga.

“They come as they please in my house since Sammy died. They can hurt me and my children anytime,” Mpatlanyane said. She broke down as she spoke to City Press.

Mpatlanyane said her seven-year-old son was almost kidnapped from school in 2010. In September last year, a letter in which it was claimed that her name was on a hitlist, was left in her yard.

“I’m no longer reporting these incidents to the police, because they don’t investigate these cases. The only thing I do is I pray to God that they should kill me alone and leave my children.

“I can’t sleep at night. I have nowhere to go and they will find me and kill me,” she said.

Police arrested Mozambican Nito Mashava (28) and Tanzanian national Omary Issa (29) in connection with Sammy’s killing in 2011. However, Mashava who police said was their key witness, was sent for psychiatric evaluation.

He died three months later. It is believed that he was poisoned. The police’s Hlathi, said the case was dead.

thugs The damaged windscreen of Pinky Mpatlanyane’s carPHOTO:

Latest issue

Read now

Latest issue
All the news from City Press.
Read now
Voting Booth
How do you feel about reports that South Africa made generous donations of “medical material supplies” worth tens of millions of rands to the Cuban government?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
SA should come first
84% - 334 votes
Gesture of good faith
6% - 25 votes
SA has Cuba's doctors
10% - 38 votes