mayor faces more raps

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The murder charges against Bushbuckridge executive mayor Milton Morema will now be investigated by a joint police task team after his arrest last Thursday .

Morema, who faces two counts of murder, was arrested with his cousin Erasmus Makhubele and Casteel municipality regional manager Lakios Mosoma at a braai.

They are expected to appear in the Bushbuckridge magistrates' court today for bail application.

They are alleged to have killed Motion Mashile and Jeffrey Mathebula in 2003. Mashile was competing with Mosoma for a principal's post at Greenvalley Primary School at the time.

Mashile's body was found by a passerby near a railway track.

The other man, Mathebula, 24, of Greenvalley, was the alleged hitman hired by Morema and his associates to kill Mosoma for R17000.

Police say they are investigating more charges against Morema, including involvement in the attempted murder of Caswell Maluleke.

Maluleke is the former mayor of Bohlabela district, which covered most of the Bushbuckridge area before it was incorporated from Limpopo into Mpumalanga about two years ago.

Morema was arrested in a dramatic scene while enjoying a braai with friends in Acornhoek on Thursday evening.

He knew about the looming arrest but dismissed it as a political conspiracy, akin to something that "happened to Jacob Zuma".

"I'm a victim of circumstances," Morema said shortly before his arrest.

"I've heard a rumour about my being involved in murder and I went to the Acornhoek police station commissioner to ask him to investigate.

"All this is related to the coming provincial ANC conference, where I've been earmarked for a higher position."

Maluleke, who is now a member of the mayoral committee in the Ehlanzeni municipality in Nelspruit, was shot 14 times at his Dwarsloop home in 2000.

No arrest were made, forcing the task team to take over the case from the Bushbuckridge police.