Suspected of burglary at school

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga has called for the suspension of a councillor from all council activities pending the outcome of investigations against him.

Emakhazeni Municipality councillor Bafana Hadebe, 43, is one of three suspects accused of breaking into Mpilonhle Primary School in Dullstroom and stealing equipment.

The school's administration clerk, Isaac Bhembe, 37, and his wife Francisca Mboweni, 31, were arrested with Hadebe in connection with the same offences.

Mpumalanga DA provincial leader Anthony Benadie said Hadebe's arrest was damaging the public's image of Emakhazeni Municipality and called for his suspension.

"The DA calls on the speaker to suspend the councillor from all council activities pending the outcome of investigations against him," Benadie said yesterday.

He said the DA was shocked to learn of Hadebe's arrest and pointed out that councillors must set an example to the community on how to live and behave.

"It is our hope that if the councillor is found guilty, the ANC will remove him and replace him with a competent public representative who will uphold the laws of the country," said Benadie.

The suspects allegedly broke into the school and stole a television set, a radio and clothes valued at R50000.

The suspects were arrested last week and appeared briefly in the Dullstroom magistrate's court on Friday.

They were not asked to plead.

Hadebe and Bhembe were remanded in custody pending their next court appearance on Friday and Mboweni was released on warning.

The arrests relate to a burglary that took place at the school in July. The police said their investigations led them to the three suspects. This was the second time that the school had suffered a theft in which school items were stolen.

The first burglary happened in January and investigations for this one led to the arrest of Bhembe.

"He was charged with housebreaking and theft, but was not suspended from work. So he apparently took advantage and committed a similar offence," said Mpumalanga police spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi yesterday.

It is not clear if the councillor is also implicated in the first burglary, but the police are trying to establish whether this is the case.