Special team to investigate murder of Mpumalanga councillor and two other men

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Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane visits the family of councillor Sbonelo Mthembu, who was murdered in eMkhondo on Friday.
Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane visits the family of councillor Sbonelo Mthembu, who was murdered in eMkhondo on Friday.
Mpumalanga Provincial Government
  • A special team of investigators will look into the murder of a Mpumalanga councillor.
  • The councillor, along with two others, was gunned down on Friday.
  • Police Minister Bheki Cele and police commissioner Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola visited the victim's family on Monday.

A special team of investigators will probe the murder of a Mpumalanga councillor, his mechanic and another man.

This was announced during a visit by police management to the province on Monday following the murders in eMkhondo on Friday.

Among the senior officials to visit the province were national police commissioner Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale and Mpumalanga police commissioner Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela. They were joined by Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane.

During the visit, they received a full briefing on crime patterns in the area as well as politically motivated killings.

Councillor Sbonelo Mthembu, 36, his mechanic and another man were shot on Friday evening. Mthembu and the mechanic had just been dropped off by Mthembu's friend.

News24 previously reported that three armed men arrived at the premises and fired multiple shots at the councillor. The mechanic and Mthembu's friend, who was still in his vehicle, were also shot.

READMpumalanga councillor and two others gunned down, suspects on the run

No arrests have been made, and investigations are continuing.

During a visit to Mthembu's family on Monday, Cele announced the establishment of the special team of investigators.

Mtsweni-Tsipane commended Cele for the appointment of the team of investigators. She said the killings "had caused panic" in the area.

READ | Mkhondo: Mpumalanga's new epicentre of political assassinations

"People live in fear now because they do not know who the next target is. We stand together with the community on this matter, and we share their pain. The establishment of the team gives us hope that arrests will be made soon," the premier said.

The team of investigators will also investigate the murder of councillor Muzi Manyathi, who was also shot dead in the Mkhondo Local Municipality in November 2022.

"These killings portray the Mkhondo Local Municipality as a death knell (sic). We are convinced that the outcome of the investigation will restore the confidence of the community in the police's commitment to protect them.

"Furthermore, it will [prevent] such sinister attacks [from] spreading to other areas," she said.

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