New twist in Nquthu turf war: Candidates nabbed as plot to kill opponent unravels

24 April 2017 - 09:16 By NATHI OLIFANT
Nquthu municipality this week
Nquthu municipality this week
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The Hawks have arrested six councillor candidates - five members of the IFP and one of the EFF - on charges of conspiracy to commit murder a month before a by-election in the volatile Nquthu local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nquthu failed to elect a mayor following the August local government election, as ANC-led and IFP-led alliances were deadlocked on the same number of council seats.

  • New twist in Nquthu turf war: Candidates nabbed as plot to kill opponent unravelsThe Hawks have arrested six councillor candidates - five members of the IFP and one of the EFF - on charges of conspiracy to commit murder a month before a by-election in the volatile Nquthu local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

The KwaZulu-Natal co-operative governance and traditional affairs department dissolved the troubled municipality in February because of the power struggles.

Police confirmed the arrests of the six who allegedly plotted to kill ANC councillors in August last year.

  • ANC using every trick in the book to sway voters ahead of the elections: Mchunu The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has praised police for apprehending a man suspected of attacking their candidate for the imminent by-elections in Nquthu, as political tensions rise ahead of the polls. 

The Hawks identified them as former IFP mayor Nothile Zungu, IFP mayoral candidate and former deputy mayor Siyabonga "Mabilabila" Kunene, IFP councillor candidates Pertunia Phindile Ntombela, Goodness Ntombi Mdlalose and Siphamandla "Sthabathaba" Sibiya, and EFF councillor Malibongwe Mdletshe, who was Zungu's former bodyguard.

Provincial Hawks spokesman Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said yesterday the murder plot was allegedly hatched at Kunene's house to force a by-election. Their alliance would take over control of the municipality and then elect a mayor.

Mhlongo said the group was bust when Kunene allegedly briefed his some of bodyguards, who were to carry out the assassinations.

"One of the bodyguards informed crime intelligence. We had sworn statements and solid evidence to make arrests," said Mhlongo.

  • Herman Mashaba won't bow to ANC 'thugs'A furious Herman Mashaba says he will not be intimidated by "ANC thuggery" after a bloody showdown for the Johannesburg mayor at a community meeting in Midrand. 

The six accused, who appeared in court last week, were released on R7000 bail each and are due back in court on May 31. The arrests came days after police swooped on an ANC member who attacked and injured Zanele Masondo, a DA candidate, at her shop on Monday.

IFP national chairman Blessed Gwala said the party was not panicking over the arrests of its members. "We knew even before August elections that the ANC will use every dirty trick to wage a psychological warfare to win not only Nquthu but Umzinyathi district."

Gwala said the accused would continue to campaign in Nquthu.

ANC provincial spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli said they were not surprised by the arrests.

"We knew a lot was happening in Nquthu. However our principled position is that whoever is accused of murder or wrongdoing there should be consequences. But we are happy that something has happened," Ntuli said.

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