Police Must Continue Investigations into Political Murders

Anthony Benadie MPL

DA Leader in Mpumalanga

The SAPS must continue their investigations into the so-called “political murders” in Mpumalanga, and the DA is highly concerned over the lackadaisical attitude of the provincial government and SAPS on the investigations into these killings.

While over a dozen politicians have either lost their lives or had assassination attempts on their lives, the prosecution rate on these cases is practically non-existent.

In a response to the DA’s written questions to the MEC for community safety, security and liaison, Mr Vusi Shongwe over the status of the investigation into these murders, MEC Shongwe only mentions three murder cases, that of Mr Jimmy Mohlala, Mr Sammy Mpatlanyane and Cllr Johan Ndlovu, and completely disregards the preceding 10 cases, or the so called hit-list that allegedly existed targeting ‘political opponents’.

According to MEC Shongwe, the special task team which was seconded to the province by suspended national police commissioner, General Bheki Cele, to investigate the murders, only spent three months in the province, and only investigated the cases of Mohlala, Mpatlanyane and Ndlovu – and left without bringing us closer to the truth.

Of great concern, is Shongwe’s tone relating to Mohlala’s murder case, where he states that the case was withdrawn against the suspects due to lack of evidence, and creates the view that, that is that in this case, making no reference to any attempts to further investigate this matter.

In an April 2010 written response to questions, the former MEC, Ms Sibongile Manana admitted to being “aware of the rumour of a hit-list”, and revealed that of the 11 murders, disappearances or failed assassination attempts, in only two cases were the perpetrators tried, convicted and sentenced.

While the DA is aware that the murder trials of the accused in the Mpatlanyane and Ndlovu case are still ongoing, and will be in court again next week, from April 23 onwards, we find it hard to accept that none of the other cases are making any progress. And now that the suspect in the Mohlala murder was ‘freed’, due to lack of evidence – MEC Shongwe and the police seem to think that the withdrawal of the case is the end of it.

It is unacceptable that Mohlala’s family and loved ones family will now be forced to join those who have died or survived attempts on their lives under mysterious circumstances:

* Saul Shabangu (killed in 1998),

* Hebron Maiseala (killed in 1998),

* Sydney de Lange (killed in 1998),

* Caswell Maluleke (survived assassination attempt in 2009),

* Joshua Ntshuhle (disappeared in 2005),

* Sizile Ndlovu (survived assassination attempt in 2006),

* Thandi Mtsweni (killed in 2009),

* Isaac Mohale (killed in 2009), and

* James Nkambule (poisoned in 2010)

The SAPS must continue investigating these cases – no matter how long it takes, and the DA will continue to put pressure on MEC Shongwe and his successors to do so.

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