A Mpumalanga MEC, Mandla Msibi (MEC for agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs) who is accused of double murder said that he was buying meat when two members of the ANC were gunned down outside a popular drinking spot in Mbombela.
MEC, Mandla Msibi appeared in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court yesterday on two counts of murder and an attempted murder outside Coyotes Chisa Nyama on 22 August.
Reading the charges to the court, state prosecutor Innocent Sibiya said that the incident happened outside Coyotes Chisa Nyama on 22 August.
“As the state, we allege that the accused (Msibi) on 22 August at Coyotes Chisa Nyama in Nelspruit unlawfully and intentionally killed Dingaan Ngwenya and Sindela Lubisi. In the process, the accused also injured Sifiso Mpila by shooting (at him) several times,” said Sibiya.
Msibi, accompanied by his attorney, gave himself over to the police yesterday, several hours before he brought his application for bail. He was the third person arrested in the case.
It is understood that on the day of the incident, the ANC in the province had met to finalize the list of candidates for the upcoming local government elections. The deceased are members of the ANC who had also attended the meeting. Msibi is the party’s elections manager in the province.
Msibi issued a statement through his lawyer, Adv. Coert Jordaan, stating that the allegations against him are false and politically motivated.
Reading Msibi’s statement onto the record, Jordaan said they believed the police were being used:
“I am an elections manager of the ANC in the province. I seat and have meetings at least three times a week with the provincial executive committee. On the said day, we had a two-day meeting with the leadership of the ANC – August 21 and 22. On that Sunday (August 22) after a meeting for all day, at about 20:50, I was asked to make arrangements to get food for the people in the meeting. I made a call to the Chisa Nyama that they prepare meat for us of about R5,000 (sic). I went to collect the meat accompanied by a member of the South African Police Service, who was my bodyguard at the time. When we got to the Chisa Nyama, we found lots of people leaving because it was about closing time due to curfew, I asked to be allowed in to take my order, which they did,” read part of his statement. While I was inside talking to the cashiers, they told me they couldn’t prepare the meat for me as they were about to close and I told them to give me raw meat. When I was about to pay, I heard loud gunshots. My bodyguard held my head down and took me to one of the Chisa Nyama’s rooms to hide me. After the shots stopped, my bodyguard went out to check if it was safe. While I was hiding, I called the station commander of the Nelspruit police station telling him about the gunshots. My bodyguard came back and took me to the car and we left the area as he said it’s not safe. I would like to inform this court that I did not shoot anyone on the day in question. I didn’t have a gun and the only person who had a gun on that day was my bodyguard, who happens to be a member of the South African Police Service. I would like to say I’m innocent and have nothing to do with killing anyone. These charges are a lie fabricated by politicians who don’t want me to do my job with principles and did not have their preferred names being in the list of candidates submitted to the IEC.”
MEC Msibi is due to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on murder charges. President Cyril Rampahosa said that Msibi will have to step aside.
Sources: Sowetan Live, MSN
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