Act on political assassinations, SACP tells Phiyega

The SACP in Mpumalanga has urged national police commissioner Riah Phiyega to make arrests on the investigation she has restarted on political killings in the province.

Phiyega announced on Sunday that she had appointed a task team in her office to look into the political assassination cases and conclude them.

The South African Communist Party has been complaining to Phiyega that the killers of former Mbombela council speaker Jimmy Mohlala, SACP member Bomber Ntshangase and former Mpumalanga department of sports, arts and culture spokesperson Sammy Mpatlanyane, had not been arrested.

Mohlala’s killing has become an emotive issue in Mpumalanga and has divided the ANC-SACP alliance. On January 25, ANC members disrupted a lecture in honour of Mohlala and former SACP secretary Joe Slovo at KaNyamazane, resulting in a fierce fight between SACP and ANC supporters. The fight ended with hospital and clinic admissions due to injuries.

The ANC’s Ehlanzeni regional executive committee was unhappy about the topic and that the SACP had invited former Mpumalanga premier and ANC treasurer-general, Mathews Phosa, to speak. Phosa had forwarded a document to Luthuli House implying that Premier David Mabuza could have been an apartheid spy.

Mohlala was shot dead in January 2009 while he was investigating corruption in the R1.2 billion Mbombela stadium tenders, but his killers are still at large.

Phiyega said: “We want to investigate and conclude these cases and we have a task team dealing with that. But, until we finish investigating, let’s give the police space and discussing the cases like we do won’t help us.”

SACP provincial secretary Bonakele Majuba said the party appreciated the fact that Phiyega was re-investigating the matter.

“That is what she has told us. The investigation must however lead to arrests and convictions,” said Majuba.

» Wrongful arrests

The last time Mpumalanga police made arrests for Mohlala’s murder in October 2010 they ended up with egg on their faces.

They arrested Jenny Mabika (58) and her son, Sakhile (32), Moses Mahungela (34) and two police officers – constables Finish Mkhabela (34) and Dumisani Mhlanga (31) – who were released two years later due to lack of evidence.

The police had an affidavit, written by Mabika’s other son Evans Mabika, as the only shred of evidence to link the five. City Press discovered that Evans had previously implicated his family members in crime and was an unreliable witness who disappeared from the police at some point.

» The corruption case

The police also arrested Kaizer Chiefs boss Bobby Motaung, former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla, Herbert Theledi, Chris Grip, Michael Ramanos, and Tebogo Kubeka for fraud and corruption charges on the stadium tenders late in 2012.

The case, however, collapsed on the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) hands about a year later when it failed to take a decision whether the case should continue to be heard in the Nelspruit Regional Court or be transferred to the high court.

The court threw the case out for the NPA to make up its mind and nothing has been heard from the NPA since.

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