The MEC who assaults people

Mpumalanga cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Mandla Msibi. Picture: Supplied
Mpumalanga cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Mandla Msibi. Picture: Supplied

Wannabe Mpumalanga ANC chairperson faces a string of criminal charges, including attempted murder and robbery

A man touted as the possible successor to Deputy President David Mabuza as the ANC’s chairperson in Mpumalanga has a string of criminal charges hanging over his head, including violent assault, malicious damage to property, robbery and attempted murder.

Mandla Msibi, now the province’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC, is facing at least 10 criminal charges dating back three years.

Summaries of the dockets, obtained from the police’s integrated case docket management system, showed that in some instances, although the cases were opened against Msibi and his co-accused, they had not been charged and the cases were “pending”.

Most of the cases have been transferred from the Pienaar police station to detectives at the provincial headquarters in Nelspruit.

Although a dark horse, Msibi’s name has been thrown around as a contender for the ANC’s top job in the province. Before his ascendance to MEC Msibi was speaker at the Mbombela municipality.

Relatively young, the 43-year-old Msibi has thrown his hat in the ring for ANC chairperson and will battle it out with senior party members when Mpumalanga holds its elective conference later this year.

Among those who harbour ambitions for the top job are Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, acting chairperson Mandla Ndlovu, economic development MEC Pat Ngomane and Peter Nyoni.

Some of the cases against Msibi include:

. The violent beating, injuring, disfiguring and attempted murder of 32-year-old Mcolisi Sithole in Pienaar, outside Nelspruit, in August 2017;

. The attempted murder and brutal assault of Given Madonsela, and the battering of his BMW X5, in August 2017. Following the attack, Madonsela’s hand became partially disabled;

. The smashing and vandalising of councillor Themba Bulunga’s car twice, in July 2017 and at the Pienaar police station in February last year; and

. Breaking into, thrashing and damaging Foja Nkosi’s house and property in August 2017.

Msibi refused to comment: “You can proceed with your story without my involvement.”

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi could not explain why Msibi and his co-accused had not been charged on other cases except for four which were now being tried.

“The cases include malicious damage to property, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and attempted murder.”

Hlathi said Msibi was in court last week and will reappear in the Nelspruit Regional Court on September 6 and October 4.


It was a Sunday afternoon in August 2017 when 32-year-old Sithole, who was minding his street chicken braai business in Msogwaba, Pienaar, was accosted by a band of enraged men, among them Msibi.

“It appeared that these guys had a confrontation with another group of men who had fled and scattered in different directions. So Msibi’s guys had staked out the area, looking for their adversaries,” Sithole told City Press last week.

He said when one of the men with Msibi saw him, he shouted: “I’ve found one of them.”

The men allegedly charged towards Sithole and began assaulting him.

“They started beating me up with the pick handles and machetes. In the process I broke my right leg. They also broke my right elbow. My right hand can’t function properly as it is. They also cut my left pointing finger.”

Read: Rape culture within the ANC

Sithole’s middle finger is also permanently jammed, he said, adding that his left palm is partially disabled.

“I stayed in hospital for three months. I was operated on three times and I had to go through extensive therapy to be rehabilitated.”

Sithole thinks Msibi and his gang wanted to kill him.

“I heard them say ‘ifile lenja’ [this dog is dead]. They had basically left me for dead. Msibi and three other co-accused, who have been charged with robbery, will appear at the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court in October. The prosecutor told me that he will indict them for attempted murder as well,” Sithole said.


Madonsela alleged that sometime in July 2017 Msibi and a group of men rocked up in three bakkies at his workplace in Daantjie, also in Pienaar, and ambushed him.

“They cornered me unawares and started delivering blows with pick handles … I did not see them coming. Had I seen them, I would have run away,” said Madonsela.

“They were battering my head with the pick handles and I had to use my hands to protect my head. That is how I got my hand broken,” he said, adding that doctors used bone cement on his hand to help heal the fracture.

“My hand is now partially disabled and I can’t carry heavy things.”

Despite the attempted murder charge, Madonsela laid two further charges for malicious damage to property for damaging his employer’s BMW SUV.

“They ambushed me, blocked the road and began smashing and shattering the car. Fortunately, I got an opening and I sped off. But the car was so badly damaged that it was written off.”

A month earlier Msibi and his crew had found Madonsela inside his employer’s bus and vandalised it, too.

Madonsela’s employer Solomon Shongwe said his insurance paid R92 000 to repair the bus.

Madonsela said he suspects Msibi’s grudge is that he had decided to walk away from the Red Devils, a gang allegedly used by the MEC to terrorise people.

“Two months ago police from the head office came here and told us that they are taking over these cases because of political interference. I am concerned that I was beaten up more than two years ago and the case has not been to court, not once. The case relating to the damage of the BMW X5 has also not been to court. The local detectives have been pushing us from pillar to post.”


Bulunga, Msogwaba’s councillor, has had two run-ins with Msibi and his gang.

Driving to a council meeting in June 2017, Bulunga was accosted by Msibi and his men.

“After blocking me they jumped off and started smashing my car with pick handles while I was inside. I managed to drive away and escaped.”

Bulunga alleged that in February last year Msibi and his crew stormed his home in Msogwaba, assaulted people and damaged his property.

While on their way out, the gang spotted Bulunga, who was driving around the neighbourhood and gave chase.

“They chased me and I drove to the police station. They drove inside the police station and vandalised my car. They stoned it and also clobbered it with pick handles and stabbed all the tyres,” he said.

Msibi and three others face two separate charges of malicious damage to property as a result of the alleged attack on Bulunga.


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Abram Mashego
Senior journalist
City Press
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