Former premier speaks out over murder rumours
FORMER KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu has welcomed the arrest of two suspects for the 2015 murder of his bodyguard, Xolani Nkosi (24). Mchunu spoke exclusively to the ZO about the murder and said at one stage he had been named as a prime suspect in the case. ‘To me personally it is a significant development in the sense that shortly after the murder, the issue was shrouded in allegations and rumours, particularly directed against me.’
Labelled as an erstwhile prime suspect, I’m obviously relieved about the arrests
His sentiments were expressed in the wake of the arrests of Dumisani Cebekhulu (26) and Ntuthuko Mkhwanazi (24), who appeared in the Empangeni Magistrate’s Court last Tuesday, charged with the murder of Nkosi at Dumisane Makhaye Village on 17 July, 2015. The ZO previously reported that Nkosi’s bullet-riddled body was found in a state vehicle at his home after he was shot by three men travelling in a VW Golf. The two accused face further charges of armed robbery and attempted carjacking. According to the KZN Hawks Communications Officer, Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo, a third suspect is still at large. Cebekhulu and Mkhwanazi were remanded in custody and the case postponed to 6 November for further investigation.
At the time of Nkosi’s murder, rumours suggested it was a revenge attack in response to the death of ANC Regional Chairperson for the Musa Dladla Region and Thungulu District Municipality Deputy Mayor, Thulani Mashaba (42). Mashaba, who allegedly had been aligned to a faction opposed to Mchunu, was killed in a car accident on the N2 near Ballito eight days prior to Nkosi’s murder. At the time, political tensions were high against a backdrop of deep divisions within the provincial ANC, and rumours surfaced that the anti-Mchunu faction questioned whether the crash was an accident, believing it could have been a planned hit. According to Mchunu, allegations emerged that he had a hand in the murder of Nkosi. ‘They said I instructed him to assassinate Mashaba. I was shocked by that.’ Mchunu said the case had changed hands several times and was passed on from the SAPS to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), before finally being left in the hands of the Hawks. ‘Labelled as an erstwhile prime suspect, I’m obviously relieved about the arrests, as will Nkosi’s family be who could not get closure for the past three years. Mchunu said he sensed something sinister about the case after receiving reliable information during the investigation that a ‘comrade’ had been putting pressure on police to investigate him. ‘What is worrying is that there was no evidence linking me to the murder and it is not the duty of the police to pursue political agendas.’
Former KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu