Newcastle Municipality mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba appeared in two different courts over two separate incidents on Tuesday, reports Newcastle Advertiser.
His first appearance was in the Madadeni Magistrate’s Court on murder charges linked to a former KZN ANCYL official. He then appeared in the Vryheid Magistrate’s Court on assault charges, after being allegedly involved in a cattle dispute near Vryheid.
Mahlaba was charged in connection with the murder of 28-year-old Wandile Ngubeni, the ANC youth league (ANCYL) regional deputy chairperson for eMalahleni who was shot dead at Ikasi Lounge, Madadeni township, in May 2016, while he was socialising with a group of friends.
According to eyewitnesses at the time of the incident, two men entered the tavern and opened fire, fatally wounding Ngubeni and wounding ANCYL regional secretary Mafika Mndebele.
Barely two months after Ngubeni was murdered, eMalahleni ward 6 candidate-councillor Thembi Mbongwa, 35, was shot dead at her home in front of her husband and children.
Mahlaba was arrested at the Newcastle municipality just days after Harry Gwala District Municipality mayor Mluleki Ndobe was arrested with three co-accused for his alleged involvement in the plot to assassinate former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa. Magaqa was shot in the uMzimkhulu area in 2017 and died from complications a few months afterwards.
Mahlaba was sworn in as the new mayor of Newcastle on March 1 this year. He is a registered general practitioner and has a practice in Newcastle, and is also the chairperson of the ANC’s Regional Executive Committee in the eMalahleni Region.
Additional reporting by African News Agency (ANA)