Newcastle mayor remains behind bars following first court appearance

25 March 2019 - 17:26 By Lwandile Bhengu
Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mhlaba will remain behind bars until his bail application on April 1.
Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mhlaba will remain behind bars until his bail application on April 1.
Image: Stephanie de Sakutin

Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mhlaba will remain behind bars following his first appearance  in the Madadeni Magistrate's Court on Monday.

He was arrested on Friday in connection with the 2017 murder of former ANC Youth League official Wandile Ngobeni.

The matter was remanded to April 1 for a formal bail application and Mhlaba will remain in custody until then.

According to local media reports, tensions were high between two ANC camps who had gathered outside the court ahead of the mayor's appearance.

Mhlaba is a medical doctor who was sworn in as mayor last month.

In a statement released by the ANC, the party said it had noted the court appearances of two of its deployees.

Harry Gwala district mayor Mluleki Ndobe appeared in the Umzimkhulu Magistrate's Court on Monday in connection with the murder of former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa but the charges were provisionally dropped against him and another accused.

"Importantly, the ANC in the province of KZN will announce the way forward with regard to the cause of action in relation to the deployment of the affected comrades," the party said. 

"Although the ANC believes in the principle of innocent until proven guilty, the law must take its course. The ANC hopes that the families of our late comrades, friends and membership of our movement will finally find closure, knowing that our justice system works without fear or favour," it added. 

ANC spokesperson in the province Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the party would call a media briefing on Tuesday to discuss the arrests of Mhlaba and Ndobe. 

Ndobe and his co-accused, Sbonelo Myeza, 39, Mbulelo Mpofana, 34, and Zweliphansi Skhosana, 48, were charged with the 2017 assassination of Magaqa. 

The murder charges were provisionally withdrawn against Ndobe and  Skhosana.