The man suspected of pulling the trigger in the murder of Jimmy Mohlala, corruption-busting speaker of Mpumalanga’s capital city, has been arrested.
“We found him at a hiding place in Matsulu township on Monday at about 5pm. He was arrested and we also found stolen furniture and a firearm in his possession. We have sent the firearm for ballistic tests to determine whether it is the one same one that was used in the murder of Mohlala,” said Mpumalanga police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi.
Although Hlathi would not give any reasons, he insisted that the police believed the suspect had shot Mohlala.
“We have information that he pulled the trigger in the shooting,” was all Hlathi would say.
The man suspected of pulling the trigger in the murder of Jimmy Mohlala, the late speaker of the Mbombela Local Municipality in Mpumalanga’s capital, appeared in the KaBokweni Magistrate’s Court on Thursday (last week).
Sakhile Mabika-Mona, 30, was not asked to plead to charges of murder and attempted murder and was remanded in custody until October 20 when he will apply for bail.
Mohlala was shot dead on January 4 last year after three gunmen confronted him at his KaNyamazane home. His 19-year-old son, Tshepiso, was shot and injured during the incident.
On Monday, bail was set at R10 000 each in the Kabokwane Magistrate’s Court for four suspects who were arrested on Saturday.
They are unemployed Moses Mahungela, 33, Constable Dumisani Mhlanga, 33, of the Nelspruit flying squad and Constable Musa Mkhabela, 30, of the KaNyamazane police, and 56-year-old Jenny Mabika, a cleaner at Rob Ferreirra who is believed to be the fifth suspect’s mother.
They will be back in court on November 5, while the latest person arrested is expected to make his first court appearance on Wednesday.
Mohlala’s nephew, Pat Mohlala, said he was happy about the latest arrest.
“We hope this man cracks and spills the beans on who paid him to kill Uncle Jimmy. As a family we believe that more people are involved in this and we want to see them face the music for what they have done,” said Pat.
He would not say whether the family thought the murder had been a political assassination.
“Anything is possible. We will wait and watch developments to see if this was a political hit. Everything points in that direction but, if not, I shall stand corrected,” he said.
Mohlala was killed a week before he was scheduled to testify about former municipal manager Jacob Dladla’s refusal to implement 361 council resolutions, as well as Dladla’s role in the poor management of the Mbombela Stadium project.
Mohlala was also planning to recommend that fraud charges be laid against Lefika Emerging Equity, the stadium’s project managers.
Earlier this year, the province was rocked by claims that a hit man named Josh had confessed to murdering Mohlala.
The claim was made by COPE’s chairman in the Ehlanzeni region, James Nkambule, who said Josh had confessed to him and signed a statement to that effect.
In the statement, a copy of which is in possession of Ziwaphi, Josh claims to be a hired assassin who has been contracted by a senior ANC leader and a soccer team boss to eliminate their business and political rivals. He claims to have killed Mohlala after being paid to do so.
Josh’s sworn statement was witnessed by a commissioner of oaths at the Barberton Magistrate’s Court on February 16, after it had been in Nkambule’s possession since August 13 last year.
Nkambule was arrested in March and charged with defeating the ends of justice and conspiracy to commit fraud. He is out on bail of R8 000 and due back in court next Thursday.
Meanwhile, the ANC in Mpumalanga issued a statement on Tuesday welcoming the arrests.
“We believe this development will help bring to an end the speculations that have to a greater extent (sic) made the people of Mpumalanga to look into (sic) one another with suspicion and distrust, which have (sic) a potential to cause instability and uneasiness in the province.”