The speaker of Mpumalanga’s Ehlanzeni district municipality, Milton Morema, is being urged to step down amidst allegations that he is behind the murder of late chief whip Johan Ndlovu.
This followed an urgent all-day meeting held by the ANC’s Bohlabela branch on Wednesday to discuss Morema’s alleged involvement in Ndlovu’s murder and its implications for the ANC.
“Our resolution as the Bohlabela region is that Morema must step down because his being implicated in such a crime is painting a bad image of the ANC,” said secretary of the Bohlabela region, Mandla Ndlovu (not related to the chief whip).
He said that “as the ANC, we do not want the public to say we are perpetuating crime or we are infiltrated by criminals”.
Morema and former Bushbuckridge ward councillor Douglas Mboweni have been named in a confession as being behind the hit on Ndlovu who was shot dead on the night of January 5 2011. At the time, Ndlovu and Morema were vying for the position of Ehlanzeni mayor, along with former Ehlanzeni speaker Caswell Maluleke.
Ndlovu said amongst the things discussed at Wednesday’s was the fact that it is not the first time that Morema has been implicated in murder.
“The last time he was fingered the ANC gave him three months to stay home and focus on the murder accusations. Now, the very same person is being fingered again, that is why we decided to just call for him to stop the public office,” he said.
Ndlovu said the Bohlabela office will ask the ANC’s Ehlanzeni office to make a presentation to the party’s provincial executive.
ANC Ehlanzeni chairman Ngrayi Ngwenya said he would comment only after meeting with the Bohlabela officials.
Provincial ANC secretary Lucky Ndinisa also declined to comment until giving the Bohlabela resolution the necessary attention.
Ndinisa did, however, insist that the provincial ANC doesn’t believe Ndlovu’s murder, nor those of two other so-called January Murders, are politically motivated.
“As the ANC in the province we do not believe that there are political killings. It’s crime like any other. However, we want to know who killed our beloved comrade Johan Ndlovu who was a hard-working member of the movement,” said Ndinisa.
On Thursday, Morema said the Bohlabela ANC resolution was “uneducated and uncalled for”.
“I was not arrested, I was never tried, these [suspects] don’t even know me. Why say I must step down? I personally believe the decision is uneducated and uncalled for, this is just their way of politically moering (assaulting) me,” said Morema.
Morema maintained he was innocent and had never been involved in murder.
“I don’t know why each time something happens in the Bushbuckridge area people say I’m involved. They are just trying to bring me down politically,” said Morema.
Mpumalanga police commissioner Major General Thulani Ntobela has said they will not be pressured into arresting Morema or Mboweni.
He said the police will only take action once current murder suspects Bongani Mkasi, 28, and Mundi Khoza, 24, are sentenced in the Nelspruit circuit of the Pretoria High Court.
A third accused, Life Khoza, 23, who has already been convicted for the murder.