Mayor, co-accused remanded in custody for Magaqa murder

Harry Gwala Mayor Mluleki Ndobe appears in the Umzimkhulu Magistrate's Court along with three other accused in connection with the murder of Sindiso Magaqa, 19 March 2019. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng / African News Agency (ANA)

Harry Gwala Mayor Mluleki Ndobe appears in the Umzimkhulu Magistrate's Court along with three other accused in connection with the murder of Sindiso Magaqa, 19 March 2019. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng / African News Agency (ANA)

A formal bail application will take place on Monday and Tuesday next week, when the state will oppose bail. 

A senior African National Congress (ANC) mayor who was arrested for the murder of former ANC youth league secretary general Sindiso Magaqa will remain in custody with his co-accused until a formal bail application takes place next week.

Harry Gwala district municipality mayor Mluleki Ndobe (accused number four), is facing one charge of murder and two of attempted murder, the uMzimkhulu Magistrate Court heard on Tuesday.

Ndobe appeared with accused number one, Sbonelo Lindelani Myeza 39; accused number two, Mbulelo Innocent Mpofani, 34; and accused number three, Zweliphansi Skhosana, 48.

Myeza was arrested on March 5 and the other three on March 17, according to the charge sheet.

The men are all being charged with a common purpose – meaning they allegedly conspired to kill Magaqa and his colleagues, Nontsikelelo Mafa and Jabu Msiya, in July 2017, in a premeditated act.

Magaqa – a PR councillor at uMzimkhulu Local Municipality at the time of his death – was gunned down alongside Mafa and Msiya. Both women survived the attack but were placed under protection. uMzimkhulu falls under Harry Gwala municipality.

A large police contingent and hundreds of ANC supporters gathered at the court early on Tuesday waiting for Ndobe to arrive. When he was eventually driven into the grounds, he remained seated in a vehicle at the back entrance to the court prior to appearing.

Ndobe is a member of the governing party’s provincial executive committee, provincial working committee, and chairs the provincial arm of the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

He is number three on the ANC’s provincial candidate list, meaning he was assured another top government position following the May 8 elections. His municipality last year tabled a R751 million budget.

In September last year, 30-year-old Sibusiso Malusi Ncengwa was arrested for his alleged involvement in Magaqa’s murder and the attempted murders of Mafa and Msiya. His case will likely be added to that of the other accused.

A formal bail application will take place on Monday and Tuesday next week, when the state will oppose bail.

Given the brutality and conspiratorial nature of the crime, making it a schedule six offence, the accused will have to prove “exceptional circumstances” as to why they should be released on bail.

According to the state, more arrests are pending and could take place this week.

– African news Agency

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