Mayor is ‘relieved but angry’ as #SindisoMagaqa murder charges withdrawn

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DURBAN, March 25 – Harry Gwala District Municipality mayor Mluleki Ndobe said that the provisional withdrawal of charges against him for the murder of Sindiso Magaqa had left him relieved but angry.

Charges of murder and attempted murder were provisionally withdrawn against 44-year-old Ndobe and accused number three, 48-year-old Zweliphansi Skhosana, at the uMzimkhulu Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The state prosecutor made the announcement as proceedings began, saying there was insufficient evidence to hold the men.

“For now I am not prepared to say anything, I have mixed feelings. I am relieved but at the same time I am very emotional and very angry about it,” Ndobe told a large media contingent outside the court following his appearance.

“I can be accused of anything, but definitely not murder or conspiracy to commit murder.

“I will be consulting with my legal team, senior counsel and my attorney in detail tomorrow, but also feedback to leadership of the ANC so that I also get counsel from the ANC leadership.

“Then, after that, it is either we convene a joint media briefing with my legal team as well as the ANC leadership, or they will allow me to conduct a media briefing in detail alone.”

He said his name had been “tarnished” and thanked the ANC and its leaders and members for the support he had received. “I am humbled by that,” he said.

Skhosana and Ndobe were arrested last week with 39-year-old Sbonelo Lindelani Myeza and 34-year-old Mbulelo Innocent Mpofani. All four were remanded in custody.

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

Two large ANC factions gathered outside the court on Monday on opposite sides of the street. One group was in support of Magaqa and were holding signs calling for bail to be denied while the other group displayed their support for Ndobe.

Magaqa – a PR councillor at uMzimkhulu at the time of his death – was shot alongside colleagues Mafa and Msiya in July 2017, and died in September 2017 due to “complications from multiple gunshot wounds.”

Mafa and Msiya both survived the ambush and were placed under state protection.

In September 2017, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) announced one of the suspects allegedly involved in the murder and attempted murder, Jabulani Mdunge, 38, was killed in a shoot-out with police on the N2 between Kokstad and Harding after being linked to a cash-in-transit robbery.

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. He is currently awaiting trial.

The bail applications for Myeza and Mpofani will be heard on Tuesday. (ANA)