- The ANC in Mpumalanga says Mandla Msibi will return as provincial treasurer after murder charges were withdrawn.
- Msibi and his five co-accused were told they were free to go by Judge Brian Mashile.
- The NPA provisionally withdrew the case, pending additional information.
ANC Mpumalanga treasurer Mandla Msibi has "automatically returned" to his position and will participate in a meeting of provincial officials on Monday evening after murder charges against him were provisionally withdrawn.
Speaking to News24, Msibi promised that he would report for duty on Tuesday at the ANC headquarters in Mbombela.
"I am going to work as a treasurer of the ANC. I know the orchestrators of this case. I will reveal their identity to the national leadership of the ANC. My arrest was orchestrated during the build-up, due to the local government elections," he said.
ANC provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu said Msibi would be at a meeting of provincial officials on Monday evening, where the matter would be discussed.
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"When you are charged, you have to step aside automatically. So when the charges are withdrawn, you automatically return to your position," Ndlovu said.
"He will be part of the meeting now that he has been acquitted," Ndlovu said.
He added that provincial officials would mull over the court judgment.
In the Mbombela High Court on Monday, Judge Brian Mashile told Msibi and his five co-accused - Joseph Charlie Ngwenya, Tshepo Matsane, Anele Mnisi, Njabulo Mkhonto and Sibusiso Mdluli - that they were free to go.
Msibi, who was elected ANC treasurer at the Mpumalanga provincial conference in April, with 442 votes, was afterwards made to step aside from his position.
Msibi and his co-accused were charged with the murders of Sindela Sipho Lubisi and Dingane Ngwenya on 22 August last year, outside Coyote's Shisa Nyama in Mbombela.
The third victim, Sfiso Mpila, survived the ordeal.
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Msibi believed the State's case against him and five others was malicious.
"It was expected that these charges were going to be withdrawn. I have been saying that these charges are malicious," he said.
"I knew that I was going to be acquitted. Last week, the State requested a postponement, and the defence refused. The State claimed it had 21 witnesses, which was not true. It only had five witnesses.
"I went to court expecting a pretrial. The State was never ready. There is nothing it ever had against us. It was a plot that was created against us," said Msibi.
He lambasted those behind his arrest, calling them small boys and girls.
"We have been in the movement. We grew up in the movement. We are the tried and tested. They are up-and-coming artists in the revolution. We are not worried about them. We are going back to work for the movement."
READ | NPA has no knowledge of witnesses withdrawing statements in murder case against ANC bigwig Mandla Msibi
News24 reported that the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Monica Nyuswa said there was outstanding information the police needed to obtain before the matter could be brought back to court.
"We took a decision of provisionally withdraw[ing] the charges, pending the outstanding information," she said.
Msibi's election as provincial treasurer, despite the murder charges he faced, was a bone of contention in the ANC.
Following his election, the ANC's national executive committee changed the step-aside policy to disqualify anyone criminally charged from contesting leadership positions.
Msibi's sympathisers said they believed the withdrawal of the charges showed how flawed the ANC's step-aside policy was.