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CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

he man who al­legedly gunned down Nquthu mu­nic­i­pal­ity speaker Vusi Ntombela and 13year-old pupil El­iz­a­beth Nh­leko in front of a class­room of ter­ri­fied pupils this week is the body­guard of the coun­cil’s mayor, Emily Molefe.

Po­lice be­lieve the as­sas­si­na­tion of Ntombela, who in De­cem­ber had re­sisted an in­struc­tion from the ANC sub­re­gion to re­sign as speaker, is re­lated to po­lit­i­cal ten­sions in the gov­ern­ing party’s Inkosi Bham­batha re­gion and in the coun­cil it­self.

Sibongiseni Mdakane (32), who joined the coun­cil as a may­oral pro­tec­tor late last year, was ar­rested, along with Mb­hekiseni Kham­bule (38) and Bhekisenzo Dlangamandla (32), hours af­ter the shoot­ing at Lu­visi Pri­mary School, where Ntombela had been deputy prin­ci­pal.

Mdakane, an ANC ac­tivist who had worked in­for­mally with the mayor be­fore be­ing placed on the coun­cil’s pay­roll, and his co-ac­cused made a brief court ap­pear­ance on Thurs­day and will ap­pear in court again on Tues­day.

Dlangamandla is un­der­stood to be the chair­per­son of a lo­cal ANC branch.

Mdakane will face two charges of mur­der and eight of at­tempted mur­der for al­legedly emp­ty­ing his firearm’s mag­a­zine to en­sure that Ntombela was dead.

An of­fi­cer in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, who can­not be named as he is not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia, said: “The vic­tim was a teacher and the part-time speaker of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. It seems to us that this is po­lit­i­cal. We are look­ing for the big fish who is be­hind this.”

The bloody attack took place while the popular 47-year-old math­e­mat­ics teacher and fa­ther of four was tak­ing his Grade 6 class through re­vi­sion ahead of midyear tests. It left teach­ers and pupils trau­ma­tised, and sparked vis­its to the school from ed­u­ca­tion MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and public safety MEC Willies Mchunu.

When City Press vis­ited Lu­visi on Thurs­day and Fri­day, the clearly shat­tered prin­ci­pal, El­iz­a­beth Mbatha, re­fused to dis­cuss the killing, say­ing Nkonyeni had gagged staff.

“All I can say is he was a ded­i­cated, hum­ble some­body who loved teach­ing and loved th­ese chil­dren,” Mbatha said.

While some fin­gers in the tiny town about 50km from Dundee are be­ing pointed at Molefe, the mayor told City Press this week she also feared for her life.

“I am shiv­er­ing. We are all shiv­er­ing. We don’t know what to do. We are all shocked and trau­ma­tised,” said Molefe. “Peo­ple will point fin­gers and say things, but I thank God they have been ar­rested and pray that they will tell the truth.

“I do not feel safe my­self. I was in­tro­duced to this com­rade [Ntombela] about eight months ago. He was do­ing work for the ANC. He was a de­ployee of the ANC. He came to work here in Novem­ber or De­cem­ber.” Molefe said she had last seen Ntombela at a coun­cil meet­ing where at­tempts to pass this year’s bud­get had failed af­ter coun­cil­lors could not reach agree­ment on sev­eral is­sues, in­clud­ing the pro­posed ex­ten­sion of the con­tracts of se­nior mu­nic­i­pal staff.

“We spoke on the phone af­ter that and we had agreed the bud­get would be pre­sented again on June 9,” she said.

On Fri­day, Ntombela’s teacher brother, Sim­phiwe, said his brother had told him this would have been his last term as a coun­cil­lor and he planned to scale back on his po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

“He told me this would be his last term be­cause there were things he was not com­fort­able with,” said Sim­phiwe. “My brother loved the ANC and had been or­gan­is­ing for it since the dif­fi­cult days here dur­ing the po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence. He told me he was not go­ing to stand again and had not made him­self avail­able to stand for the ANC re­gion again,” said Sim­phiwe.

“He had served two terms. My brother was not happy, as he felt we were not do­ing enough.

“Vusi was hum­ble and re­spect­ful but also very ded­i­cated and stub­born.

“If he didn’t ap­prove of some­thing or was un­com­fort­able with some­thing, he would make that known, qui­etly. I think per­haps that is why this hap­pened,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal po­lice com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Mma­mon­nye Ngob­eni said po­lice would make sure the mas­ter­mind was ar­rested.

“While we condemn the bru­tal man­ner in which this ed­u­ca­tor and pupil were killed, we are pleased that po­lice were able to act swiftly and trace the sus­pects im­me­di­ately af­ter the crime was com­mit­ted. We will en­sure that we throw the book at them,” she said.

Ntombela’s mur­der is not the first po­lit­i­cal killing to rock the ANC’s Inkosi Bham­batha re­gion.

ight years ago, ANC coun­cil­lor Gr­isham Bu­jram was shot dead by a body­guard and lover of then mayor of the Dundee mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

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