Two men arrested for allegedly assaulting, robbing world-renowned artist Esther Mahlangu

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Mpumalanga police arrested two men for allegedly assaulting world-renowned Ndebele artist Dr Esther Mahlangu and stealing her firearm.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the men, aged 32 and 37, were arrested on Thursday.

Initially, police took seven people in for questioning.

Five could not be linked to the attack and were released.

The 87-year-old Mahlangu was attacked at her home on 19 March.

The intruders assaulted her and fled with the safe containing her firearm.

Esther Mahlangu
Esther Mahlangu's gun that was stolen from her home.


Last week, police offered a reward of R50 000 to anyone with information about the assault and robbery.

Mahlangu expressed her desire to go to court to see her attackers for the first time.

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Tsipane-Mtsweni revealed this after visiting Mahlangu at her home in Siyabuswa.

"She was excited when hearing that her alleged attackers had been arrested. Mahlangu would love to see the suspects in court because she didn't have the opportunity to see the main perpetrator when he attacked her," said Tsipane-Mtsweni.

Mohlala said the R50 000, that had been offered earlier, didn't yield any results.

"The suspects were arrested through dedication shown by our investigators. They pounced on the first suspect around 02:00 at Mogononong in Siyabuswa. He was found in possession of a 7.65mm pistol, with its serial number filed off.

"The firearm was hidden in the toilet cistern, wrapped with a plastic bag. He then pointed to the second person, who allegedly sold him the gun. The second person claimed he bought it from the third person, who pointed out a fourth person claiming he sold him the gun. 

"The fourth person, aged 37, confessed to breaking into Mahlangu's house, taking away the safe containing cash and a firearm."

Mohlala said the safe was cut open with an angle grinder at Ramokgeletsana, outside Siyabuswa.

The two men will face charges of possessing an unlawful firearm and house robbery.

They are expected to appear in the Mdutjana Magistrate's Court on Friday.

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