A 46-year-old suspect was arrested on Friday, January 11, and appeared in court on Monday, January 14, for allegedly extorting money from a councillor in KwaZulu-Natal.
The police said the suspect, Morris Mdu Mkhungo, was arrested by members of the Hawks from the Durban Organised Crime Investigation Unit for alleged extortion which took place at Umlazi area, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Mkhungo was arrested on Friday following an intensive investigation by members of the Hawks.
Police spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said in a statement: “It is alleged that Mkhungo pretended to be a hitman who was hired to kill the complainant. He allegedly phoned and sent text messages to her demanding cash so that he would stop carrying out the hit. Preliminary investigation has revealed that Mkhungo tried to extort money from several other victims.”
Police said Mkhungo appeared in the Umlazi Magistrate Court on Monday and was remanded in custody.
The case was postponed to January 22 2019.
Isolezwe reports it spoke with one councillor – whose identity cannot be revealed as investigations are ongoing – who was allegedly called by Mkhungo.
The councillor told the publication the suspect allegedly called on Tuesday and further sent SMSs threatening to kill them if they did not pay R5,000 to him.
“What astonishes me is that he pretended to be someone who knows me and knows that I am a councillor. He told me that he had been hired to kill me and said if I did not give him the money he would not tell me the name of the person who had hired him and that the day would not come to an end with me still being alive as he would find me,” the councillor told the publication.
The publication said it found the suspect had allegedly attempted to extort different amounts of money from different people.
The councillor said though the suspect had said that his motive was to get money through extortion, they still lived in fear.
“I still question how the suspect got ahold of my number and how they knew that I am a councillor. I’m still shaken by what happened,” they said.
Meanwhile, the province has been plagued by a series of political killings which led to Premier Willies Mchunu establishing the Moerane Commission of Inquiry on October 28, 2016, to look into the issue.
The commission heard testimony from more than 60 witnesses and ran for a year.
The province’s premier released the commission’s 423-page report last year, tabling it before the province’s legislature in Pietermaritzburg in September.
During the ANC’s manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, on Saturday, state and governing party president Cyril Ramphosa said the number of political killings had decreased, and promised his party would “stem the tide” of these killings, “particularly here in KwaZulu-Natal”.