Mpumalanga official in court for murder

A former convict who became a top Mpumalanga municipal official was arrested and charged with murder after he allegedly shot and killed a police officer on Tuesday evening using his municipal-owned firearm.

Daniel Maluleke is still employed as a director of public safety at the Msukaligwa Municipality in Ermelo. He was arrested at the murder scene on Tuesday and appeared in the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where he was granted R1 000 bail.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi said Maluleke confessed to killing 34-year-old Constable Patrick Mashaba, but could not provide further details about the motive for the murder.

Maluleke has in the 1980s faced charges of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and was ­sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, which he served.

About two years ago he was charged with murder for allegedly shooting and killing a man in Belfast, Mpumalanga.
Maluleke was acquitted on the grounds that he acted in self-defence because the deceased allegedly shot at him first.

The municipality was rocked by violent protests earlier this year when Ermelo residents took to the streets and marched against the alleged ­manipulation of ANC candidate lists ahead of the local government elections.

About 40 community members opened cases against Maluleke for allegedly pointing a firearm at them during one of the marches a few weeks before the violence erupted. He also faces allegations of assault, intimidation and sexual harassment at the municipality.

In June, South African Municipal Workers’ Union members embarked on a strike after management failed to take disciplinary steps against him.

Msukaligwa spokesperson Mandla Zwane said that although the municipality acknowledged receiving claims of misconduct against Maluleke, it was not aware of any sexual harassment complaints.

“The municipal manager did not receive any written complaint about this alleged misconduct,” he said.

The matter was taken to the Labour Court in June and the municipality was ordered to investigate the matter and institute a disciplinary hearing.

Samwu’s provincial spokesperson, Kgokedi Mphahlele, told the Mail & Guardian this week that the municipality was using delaying tactics in the investigation of the case after being ordered by the court to interview Maluleke’s alleged victims.

“The municipal manager admitted that Maluleke’s behaviour was unacceptable and promised that he will go for an anger management course. But he is protecting him. Maluleke is a feared man at work and in the community. One of the victims is afraid of going back to work following his recent murder charge,” said Mphahlele.

A police report in the M&G‘s possession suggests that Maluleke was employed at the municipality through the influence of Sibusiso Sigudla, an ANC regional executive committee member aligned to Premier David Mabuza. It states that Sigudla is accused of tender corruption and the manipulation of candidate lists for the local government elections. At the time of going to print, Maluleke could not be reached for comment. He is expected to appear in court again on November 21.

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