The lawyer of an MEC from Mpumalanga who was arrested on Monday believes his client’s arrest was politically motivated.
The 45-year-old MEC and ANC provincial executive committee member handed himself over to the police on allegations of murder and attempted murder on Monday morning. The cabinet member cannot be named until he appears in court.
The MEC’s lawyer, Coert Jordaan, told City Press that police were completing formalities at the police station.
Jordaan said that it was unclear what the charges were. However, City Press understands that police have been looking for the MEC in relation to a shooting at Coyote’s Shisa Nyama – a popular drinking spot in Mbombela – on August 22.
It is alleged that the shooting was related to ANC infighting at a list conference at Nutting House outside Mbombela.
Suspects driving a blue double-cab bakkie allegedly opened fire on a VW Polo. Three ANC members – Sindela Sipho Lubisi and Dingane Ngwenya – were killed, while a third member, Sfiso Mpila, was wounded.
Mpumalanga ANC acting chairperson Mandla Ndlovu said that the party was not aware of the arrest.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said that police arrested Joseph Charlie Ngwenya (35) and Tshepo Matsane (30) on September 17 in connection with the shooting. Ngwenya and Matsane have already appeared in court twice and were released on R20 000 bail on October 8.
Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo of the Saps confirms the arrest. Listen:
“The MEC is expected to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court soon on the murder and attempted murder charges,” he said.
Mpumalanga premier, Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, said that she had noted the MEC's arrest. "I view these allegations as very serious and appeal to everyone to allow the law to take its course. At this stage, I will be waiting for the official court appearance of the MEC and thereafter take appropriate action," Mtshweni-Tsipane said.