Parolees held for murder and robbery after missing man's body found with bullet wounds
The body of a man who had been reported missing, Bhekuyise Mazibuko, was found by police on Monday night dumped in bushes near an old mine in the Leenek area, in northern KZN. He had been robbed of his vehicle and shot in the chest.
The 56-year-old was reported missing on Sunday by his family at Hlobane SAPS after he failed to arrive home.
Police spokesperson Capt Nqobile Gwala said Vryheid police are investigating charges of murder, robbery, defeating the ends of justice, possession of stolen property and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.
Gwala said two suspects appeared in the Carolina magistrate’s court on Monday.
“The docket was transferred to Vryheid SAPS. Both suspects were out on parole for a case of rape, assault and house robbery. One of the suspects was wanted for a case of rape opened at Hlobane in April 2019,” she said.
Gwala said Mazibuko’s phones were off and he went missing along with his vehicle.
“A missing person docket was registered at Hlobane SAPS. Later the same day, Mazibuko’s vehicle was found at Carolina in Mpumalanga. Two men, aged 27 and 28, were taken in for questioning by the police after a vehicle and cellphones were recovered from them. Hlobane SAPS was immediately contacted and it was established that the vehicle belonged to the missing person.”
Gwala said on Tuesday that a multi-district task team had gone to Mpumalanga, where they worked around the clock to connect the dots in the case.
“One of the suspects pointed out where he had hidden the firearm with seven rounds of ammunition. It was found under a rock near an abandoned house. He was charged for illegal possession of a firearm and seven rounds of ammunition. Charges of illegal possession of a firearm, ammunition and possession of stolen property were opened.
“Through the intensive investigation conducted by the team, it was established that the recovered vehicle belonged to Mazibuko, who had been reported missing at Hlobane.”
Gwala said it is alleged that on Saturday afternoon, Mazibuko offered a lift to two men who were hitchhiking in the area.
“The men asked to be dropped off near one of the shops. The men robbed the victim of his vehicle and also shot him on the left side of the chest. His body was found last night by the team, dumped in the bushes at Leenek area, near an old mine. The deceased’s cellphone was recovered from the suspects.”
Gwala said preliminary investigation conducted by the team established that the firearm was taken during a carjacking at Paulpietersburg.
“It is alleged that on January 29 at 2pm, a motorist was driving in the Paulpietersburg area when he offered two men who were hitchhiking a lift. The men allegedly robbed him of his vehicle, firearm, cellphone and cash. The suspects abandoned the vehicle on the same day after it developed a mechanical failure,” said Gwala.
Gwala said the suspects will appear in the Vryheid magistrate's court on Wednesday.