ANC KZN councillor appears in court for murder of fellow party councillor

Mthokozisi Nojiyeza to join his brothers, Nkosingiphile and Phumlani Nojiyeza, and Sandile Mvelase, in dock

ANC KZN councillor appears in court for murder of fellow party councillor

24 December 2018

An ANC councillor has appeared in the Umlazi Magistrate's Court, south of Durban, on Monday for allegedly conspiring to murder another ANC councillor in the area.

Umlazi's Ward 80 councillor Mthokozisi Nojiyeza will join his brothers, Nkosingiphile and Phumlani Nojiyeza, and Sandile Mvelase on December 27 when they appear for the second time in court.

They are accused of fatally shooting Ward 88 councillor Sibusiso Maphumulo on the night of October 18.

The two Nojiyeza brothers and Mvelase made their first court appearance last Wednesday.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) says it is still in shock at the news that one of its own councillors has been accused of killing another party councillor.

"But having said that, we understand that the principle of innocent until proven guilty will apply to all the accused, however, we will wait for the processes of the court and hear what the court says. We will abide by any decision taken by the court," ANC KZN spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu told News24 on Monday.

She said the ANC was calling for the judiciary to "take into cognisance the interest the case has attracted".

"We request them to fast-track the processes as much as possible so that, as the ANC, we are able to take decisions where it is necessary for us to do so, considering that the accused is a ward councillor and there are service delivery issues that are at stake," said Simelane-Zulu.

Whether or not Maphumulo's death was the result of a political killing was not for the ANC to determine, she said.

"There are still investigations that are being [conducted] by the investigating officer and the courts, so that is something that will come out as the matter is being heard. As matters stand, for us, it's a killing of a politician," she said.

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo wrote on Facebook on Monday: "If the ANC is serious about political killings in the province it must declare a vacancy in Ward 80 and we must go for a bi-election."

He was not immediately available for comment as his phone rang unanswered.

In response to Sabelo's call, Simelane-Zulu said it was the ANCYL provincial secretary's right to make whatever call the youth league deemed fit.

"But the truth of the matter is that there are processes that must be followed and there are two ways of actually calling for a by-election; one where a councillor has died or, two, when a councillor has resigned. None of those are a matter in this instance (Ward 80). So, we will follow the processes and follow the law in relation to that."

Maphumulo was seated in his VW Golf 6 after a meeting in Umlazi's V Section when occupants of another Golf 6 parked next to him and opened fire.

Maphumulo died at the scene.

An eThekwini municipality councillor who asked not to be named previously told News24 that ANC members who were in court were shocked when the Nojiyeza brothers made a court appearance over the killing.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said updates on investigations into political killings in KZN were the responsibility of an inter-ministerial committee.

"We are not giving a blow-by-blow account of the investigations. This is purely to protect the investigations and, remember, there are also lives at stake here. So, we don't want to give a blow-by-blow account of the investigations," he said.

The inter-ministerial committee in the security cluster was set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa on May 14 following a spate of political killings in the province.

The ministerial task team comprises the departments of justice, police, state security and defence.