After spending a night in jail following his arrest for murder, Mpumalanga agriculture MEC Mandla Msibi is set to return to the Nelspruit Magistrates Court on Tuesday for his bail application.
The 45-year-old, who is also a member of the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) and head of elections for Mpumalanga, is alleged to have been involved in a shooting incident that happened near a popular drinking spot in Mbombela on 22 August 2021.
Two ANC members – Sindela Sipho Lubisi and Dingane Ngwenya – were killed while another party member, Sfiso Mpila, got injured. The shooting incident is understood to be related to party infighting over the ANC’s list processes.
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Msibi handed himself over to police in Nelspruit on Monday accompanied by his attorney and was subsequently charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, the MEC’s arrest brought to three the total number of suspects arrested in connection with this case.
“On 17 September 2021 police arrested Joseph Charlie Ngwenya, 35, and Tshepo Matsane, 30. They both appeared in court at least twice before being granted bail of R20,000 each on Friday, 8 October 2021,” Naidoo said in a statement.
Previous brushes with the law
Msibi is no stranger to the country’s court system as he has had previous brushes with the law, according to reports.
City Press reported on Monday that Msibi was recently acquitted on 10 criminal charges that he was facing in court since 2018.
The charges, which included assault, attempted murder, theft and malicious damage to property, related to claims that he was running a vigilante group in Pienaar outside Mbombela where he is said to live.
Msibi’s lawyer Coert Jordaan told the publication the latest charges against his client were politically motivated and he was arrested because of his position.
Meanwhile, Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane said she would take “appropriate action” against Msibi after his court appearance on Tuesday.
She told eNCA the ANC PEC would meet soon to deliberate on the charges against Msibi in line with the party’s step-aside rule.
“As the ANC during our conference [in 2017] we have taken a resolution that any member who is implicated in corruption or crime will have to be recused from his position, be it a government position or in the ANC,” Mtsweni-Tsipane said.
At the same time, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said when a member of the party appears in a court of law on criminal charges, the step-aside rule would automatically apply.
The member would also be required to appear before the party’s integrity commission, which deals with members who bring the organisation into disrepute.