He might wear the mayoral chains in Nquthu‚ but he might just end up in jail
Nathi Olifant | 2017-05-31 18:36:01.0
Nquthu municipality this week
Image by: Thuli Dlamini
He will make the by-laws in council chambers and sign off on rules and regulations in his mayoral parlour‚ but the man who would be Nquthu mayor remains on the wrong side of the law – at least for now.
According to the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Siyabonga Mabilabila Kunene – who‚ by virtue of his party‚ the IFP‚ winning last week’s by-election in the rural northern KZN council is likely to become mayor by the end of next week – was at the heart of an alleged murderous plot.
He and five of his comrades are currently facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder after revelations last month that‚ in August last year‚ they allegedly planned the murder of rival ANC candidates. However‚ their plans were botched after a bodyguard‚ who was briefed on the plot‚ ratted them out to cops.
They were arrested on April 21 in the build-up to the Nquthu by-elections‚ and initially granted R7‚000 bail.
The six‚ who at the time of the alleged plot were all either IFP or EFF councillors in Nquthu‚ appeared in court again on Wednesday‚ where the Hawks were insistent that the charges would stand. Following the brief appearance in the Nquthu Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday‚ the matter was transferred to the regional court in anticipation of trial‚ said Hawks spokesman Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo.
“We believe we have a strong case‚ that’s why the matter was postponed to July 5 for the State to start preparing for trial‚” said Mhlongo.
Kunene may have triumphed at the polling booth when the IFP won the battle of Nquthu recently‚ but that victory could be shortlived as life in the dock could undo all of that. The ANC has promised to make his life – and that of his party – in council difficult.
Kunene’s co-accused are former IFP Nquthu mayor Nothile Zungu‚ IFP councillor candidates Pertunia Phindile Ntombela‚ Goodness Ntombi Mdlalose and Siphamandla “Sthabathaba” Sibiya and former EFF councillor and Zungu’s former bodyguard‚ Malibongwe Mdletshe.
The Hawks allege that the plot to murder some ANC councillors was hatched at Kunene’s house in August last year to force a by-election.
Mhlongo said this was after it became clear the IFP would‚ at the time‚ be unable to gain outright majority in the troubled council.
“One of the bodyguards informed crime intelligence. That’s when we started to investigate and collect evidence. We finally had sworn statements and solid evidence to make arrests. We have a solid case‚ we did not just make arrests for the sake of arresting and we are mindful of the elections‚” Mhlongo said last month.
The IFP won the fiercely contested Nquthu last week beating their arch-rival‚ the ANC‚ to govern the rural northern KwaZulu-Natal town.