FORMER WARD COUNCILOR SENTENCED TO TWO LIFE TERMS FOR KILLING POLITICAL RIVALS

FORMER WARD COUNCILOR SENTENCED TO TWO LIFE TERMS FOR KILLING POLITICAL RIVALS

The High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Division, sitting in Mbizana, sentenced former African National Congress (ANC) Ward Councilor, in the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Local Municipality, Lucky Bethwell Mbuzi (47), to two life imprisonment terms, for the murders of his political opponents in the lead to the previous local government elections. The court sentenced him to additional 21 years and ordered him to run concurrently with one life imprisonment term, for charges relating to illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Mbuzi did not want to be opposed to any of his political aspirations, and the deceased were active members of the ANC in their respective communities and had political ambitions. He made some threats to the lives of two members, not to take part in the political elections that were to be conducted that seek to remove or change him from his political position as a councillor.

On the evening of 10 March 2021, Hleliphi Mashusha Thotshe was shot and killed at her home in Mbangweni village, in the KwaJali area in the district of Mbizana. On the night of 16 April 2021, Mduduzi Madikizela was fatally attacked by two men inside his home at Tshamathe village, also in the KwaJali area. Police investigations led to the arrest of Mbuzi, along with two young men aged 23 and 29. The firearms that were used to commit the two murders were recovered from Mbuzi and were ballistically linked to the offences. During the trial, Mbuzi pleaded not guilty but his two accomplices, who were later acquitted by the court, testified that they had been compelled by him to kill his rivals.

Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Barry Madolo commended Senior State Adv. Mduduzi Mzila, and the investigation officer for ensuring that Mbuzi is punished for his crimes. “Politically motivated killings are a threat to democracy, so bringing the perpetrators to book strengthens the free and fair political activities, allowing communities to elect candidates of their choice,” the DPP added.

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