Richmond hoping for breakthrough in political murders

ANC members protested outside the Richmond Magistrate’s Court yesterday were two men held for the murder of slain municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole made a brief appearance.Below: ANC activists, community members and Richmond municipal employees wait to see the two men held for the murder of Sithole, as the two were driven out by police.PHOTOS: Sabelo Nsele
ANC members protested outside the Richmond Magistrate’s Court yesterday were two men held for the murder of slain municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole made a brief appearance.Below: ANC activists, community members and Richmond municipal employees wait to see the two men held for the murder of Sithole, as the two were driven out by police.PHOTOS: Sabelo Nsele

ANC activists swamped the Richmond Magistrate’s Court on Monday as two suspects in the murder of the town’s former municipal manager, Sibusiso Sithole, made a brief appearance.

Chilley Street was cordoned off with police tape as hundreds of ANC activists sang and danced while waiting for feedback on the court proceedings. Only Sithole family members, Richmond municipal leadership and ANC regional leadership were allowed inside the court.

The two men held for the murder, Sabelo Phoswa and Goodman Gasa, had been expected to apply for bail on Monday.

However, state prosecutor Aven Naidu asked for a postponement as he said the two men had not yet taken part in an identity parade. The two will now apply for bail next Monday and arrangements have been for an identity parade to be held on Friday.

ANC regional convenor Thulani Xulu said they were hoping the breakthrough in the case would also help crack other unsolved political murders in Richmond. “All we want to know from these accused, is for them to tell us who ordered the hit. We want all those that were involved in the murder to be brought to book. We hope as the case continues to drag on, the accused will break and start talking.

“Maybe we will know who killed [Sifiso[ Mkhize [a Richmond ward councillor who was killed in July 2017]. Maybe they will tell us who killed Ndelu [Mlindelwa Sithole, an ANC activist who was killed in 2016]. Maybe we will know who killed the deputy mayor [Thandazile Phoswa, who was killed in April 2017].”

Sithole was shot dead in May 2017 outside Richmond municipal offices. He was ambushed by two gunmen as he walked to the municipal traffic department, close to the local police station.

Provincial secretary of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, Mlungisi Dongwe, said he feared that the hit on Sithole was ordered by ANC members.

“Already we know in Umzimkhulu [in the murder of former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa] that it was ANC politics.

“We also know that in Pietermaritzburg in the murder of Maqatha [Musawenkosi Mchunu] that it was ANC politics. We will wait to see if it is not the case here as well,” he said.

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