2010 whistleblower murdered
JOHANNESBURG (Sapa) - A senior ANC official who reportedly blew the whistle on alleged corruption in a 2010 construction project was shot dead at his Nelspruit property on Sunday evening.
Jimmy Mohlala's death was confirmed by SAPS Captain Philip Fakhude and Mbombela municipality communications officer Bessie Pienaar.
Pienaar did not have further details, but Fakhude said Mohlala, the speaker of the Mbombela municipality, was shot dead outside his house as he tried to run away from two assailants.
His 19-year-old son was shot and wounded.
"He [Mohlala] was at his house with his 19-year-old son. They wanted to park a car in the garage. Two suspects came and started arguing with the son," said Fakhude.
"The son threw the car keys on the ground, saying if you want the vehicle, take it. They then shot the son in the ankle and Mr Mohlala ran to his garage. They followed him and shot him in the shoulder."
The two men ran away without stealing anything.
Mohlala died on his way to hospital.
Fakhude said the motive for the killing was not known. "We are not sure. We are still investigating," said Fakhude.
Mohlala was in the news about a year ago following reports that some African National Congress members wanted him sacked for blowing the whistle on a colleague, Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla.
Shortly after that, the ANC recalled Mohlala but he refused to step down.
At the time of his murder, the party was in the process of taking disciplinary action against him.
The ANC expressed its "deepest felt condolences" at his death on Monday.
"It is really hard to come to terms losing a comrade of Jimmy's calibre. He was one of those cadres who was very talented, skilful and dedicated to working for the upliftment of the standard of lives of our people," provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa said in a statement.
"His untimely death has robbed us of a cadre whom will be difficult to replace in many aspects."
The Mail and Guardian newspaper reported last February that Mohlala had blown the whistle on Dladla and said it had reliably learnt that some ANC officials had allegedly attempted to cover up a report on alleged corruption by Dladla.
The local council investigated Dladla on a range of allegations, including the manipulation of tenders in 2010 construction contracts, harassment of council employees, and failure to keep the council updated on progress ahead of the Soccer World Cup, the weekly newspaper reported.
When Mohlala was recalled from his position, municipal mayor Justice Nsibande was also recalled.
The Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga hailed Mohlala as a "true democrat".
"Jimmy Mohlahla will be remembered as a true democrat who worked ceaselessly for good governance in the municipality and against all forms of corruption," the DA said in a statement.
The Congress of the People called on the police to leave no stone unturned in the investigation into his death.
"Cope salutes the late Councillor Mohlala for his efforts and sacrifices throughout the years -- first for the liberation of the South African people and then for bettering the lives of others," Cope said in a statement.
The Christian Party said it was "angered and saddened" by his murder.
"The Christian Party call on the SAPS to investigate whether political intolerance played a role in the murder of Jimmy Mohlala," said its spokesman, Gerhard Rheeder, in a statement.
Anyone with information on the murder can contact Captain Fakhude at 079-891-5072 or the branch commander at 013-794-5072 .
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