Murder and kidnap accused to face additional charge of arson

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

A senior official of the Department of Labour in Pretoria, who was this week arrested for murder, attempted murder and kidnapping, faces an additional charge of arson.

Brighten Musa Sithole, 39, was apprehended by members of Mpumalanga's organised crime unit on Wednesday while sitting in a car in Umlazi township, south of Durban.

Sithole had been on the run for a month.

In addition to the murder, attempted murder and kidnapping charges on crimes he allegedly committed in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, on August 15 2008, Sithole is alleged to have torched a house belonging to his girlfriend the same evening.

The house is in Akasia, a suburb of Pretoria.

Captain Lucas Sithole of the Pretoria police confirmed the arson case, saying "no arrests have been yet made but investigations are continuing".

Sithole, who was absent without official leave from work for a month, was also alleged to have attempted to drown the mother of his three-year-old child in the bathroom of his Montana townhouse in July.

He allegedly filled the bath and repeatedly held her head under water until she almost passed out. This was allegedly after she wanted to end their alleged abusive relationship.

Captain Leonard Hlathi of the Mpumalanga organised crime unit said Sithole then took her to the bedroom where she recovered. He instructed her to change her mind about ending their affair.

"She allegedly did so under duress," Hlathi said.

On August 15 the girlfriend, who is a senior official in the Department of Transport in Pretoria, went to attend a family gathering in Siyabuswa.

Her family has two houses in different sections of the township.

Sithole allegedly went to Siyabuswa the same evening to look for her. When he could not find her at the first family home he allegedly stabbed Themba Mahamba in the armpit and kidnapped Nhlanhla Mnguni, 20.

Sithole proceeded to the second property, where he allegedly stabbed Margaret Kolobe, 22, to death. Kolobe allegedly had a four-day-old baby.

Sithole allegedly also wounded Gabisile Kolobe, 19, in the left breast and arm and abducted Given Mnguni, 14.

He left Nhlanhla at the second house and took Given, who was still in his underwear, with him to KwaZulu-Natal.

He released him on August 17.