Police arrest 3 for KZN councillor’s murder

Police chase after a hijacked minibus-taxi

Police chase after a hijacked minibus-taxi

Three men charged with the murder of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) councillor, local speaker and educator, Vusi Ntombela, and that of a pupil, appeared in the Nquthu Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, police said in a statement.

Provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Jay Naicker said Bhekizenzo Dlangamandla, 32, Mbhekiseni Khambule, 38 and Sibongiseni Mdakane, 32, were remanded in custody and the case was postponed to June 10 for further investigation.

The three were arrested on Tuesday, an hour after the incident occurred. On Tuesday, at around 9.50am, 47-year-old Ntombela was fatally shot inside his classroom at a school in the Luvisi area in Nquthu, Naicker said.

“Within the hour three suspects were arrested and a firearm believed to be the murder weapon was recovered,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni congratulated Nquthu police for the swift arrests.

The three suspects entered Ntombela’s classroom and allegedly shot and killed him. Ntombela, an African National Congress (ANC) member, who simultaneously held the positions of educator at Luvisi Primary School, councillor, and speaker at Nquthu local municipality in northern KZN, sustained five fatal gunshot wounds.

Two pupils were also injured in the shooting and were taken to hospital. However, one of the pupils was declared dead by medical personnel upon arrival. At the time, Naicker said the motive for the killing was unknown.

KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube condemned the killing.

“The death of a councillor who is an elected servant of the people leaves a gaping void in the sphere of local government and has robbed us of one more foot soldier in our fight against poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Dube-Ncube said.

Ntombela’s murder was the third reported attack on an ANC councillor across the country in the last two weeks. In late May, a Mpumalanga ANC councillor sustained critical wounds after being shot and on May 28, the home of an ANC councillor in Cape Town was burnt down.

“We do not know the cause and the motive,” said Dube-Ncube of the latest attack on an ANC councillor. “We are, however, worried that the killing of councillors is becoming a disturbing trend, noting that it is not happening for the first time.”

Dube-Ncube urged police to ensure the suspects, who were in custody and due to appear in court soon, were brought to justice.

Ngobeni strongly condemned the murder. She stated: “Whilst we condemn the brutal manner in which this educator and pupil were killed, we are pleased that police were able to act swiftly and trace the suspects immediately after the crime was committed. We will ensure that we throw the book at them.”

today in print