Newcastle mayor arrested in connection with political killings

Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, the mayor of Newcastle, has been arrested by the task team probing political killings in KwaZulu-Natal. The arrest is in connection with the murder of two ANC activists from the party’s eMalahleni Region.

READ MORE: Three mayors investigated for murders

Mahlaba is the second ANC mayor in the province to be arrested in the course of the past week for killing a fellow member of the governing party.

READ MORE: Magaqa murder accused, three others appear in court

On Tuesday, Harry Gwala district mayor Mluleki Ndobe appeared in court in connection with the murder of former ANC Youth League secretary general and Umzimkhulu councillor Sindiso Magaqa. Ndobe is set to make an application for bail on Monday.

Several ANC sources in eMalahleni confirmed the arrest of Mahlaba, who was taken into custody at the municipality offices.

“The Hawks came and took him right at the council offices,” said one ANC member from the region. “The whole town saw him being arrested.”

Reneilwe Serero, spokesperson for Police Minister Bheki Cele, confirmed that a “senior official” from the municipality had been taken into custody but declined to name them, saying that their identity would only be disclosed once they had appeared in court.

She said the official had been arrested for murder, but that further details would only be made available when the suspect appeared in court.

However, sources in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) told Mail & Guardian that Mahlaba was being charged in connection with the 2016 murders of ANCYL eMalahleni secretary Wandile Ngubeni and Thembi Mbongwa, a local ANC councillor.

Three of Mahlaba’s former bodyguards — Cebo Xulu, Sibusiso Sibiya and Cebo Buthelezi — were arrested during February and March for the killings. They were released on bail and will appear in court again in April.

Mahlaba’s arrest comes after an intensive investigation by the task team appointed by Cele to probe the killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

The murder of Ngubeni and Mbongwa were part of a spate of deadly attacks on ANC councillor candidates ahead of the 2016 local government elections.

They resulted in the party’s regional executive committee (REC) being suspended and replaced with a task team, with a leadership headed by Mahlaba as chairperson being elected earlier this year.

Mahlaba was elected as mayor a month ago following the resignation of Makhosini Nkosi, who quit mid-term because of threats to his life.

ANC spokesperson Gugu Simelane-Zulu said they were “shocked” by the arrest, particularly “so soon after the arrest of the Harry Gwala district mayor.”

‘’We don’t have information beyond what is in the media at this time and are attempting to find out what is happening. We will issue a statement once we have proper information,’’ she said.

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

‘South Africa on a path to unjust transition’

The country needs a greener economy but energy specialists say policymakers must ensure the creation of a fairer economy in the process

Whistleblower helps SIU in diamonds corruption raid

The SIU alleges fraud and graft in state mining company's procurement

SA Mint launches rhino coin

The coins are produced in limited quantities ranging from 500 to 2 000, depending on the demand

Specialised task force to combat illegal mining in South Africa

Police and minerals department tell briefing a specialised team will be appointed in each province to fight illegal mining
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×