'Politics has become dangerous'

SPEAKING OUT: Cope's Sizile Ndlovu. Cicra 2008. Pic. Unknown
SPEAKING OUT: Cope's Sizile Ndlovu. Cicra 2008. Pic. Unknown

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Sizile Ndlovu, chairman of Cope in Mpumalanga, has survived two attempts on his life.

Now he says the province has turned into a battlefield, where politicians are killed "Mafia-style".

Ndlovu says the killing on Sunday of Jimmy Mohlala, speaker of the embattled Mbombela municipality, was a political assassination because he differed with ANC colleagues.

Ndlovu was the ANC's Bohlabela regional secretary between 2004 and 2006.

"We should remember the Mafia-style in which Govan Mbeki municipality deputy mayor Thandi Mtsweni was killed, the shooting at my home with AK-47 assault rifles in 2006 and now the killing of Jimmy Mohlala," Ndlovu said yesterday.

Assailants shot at Ndlovu at an ANC meeting in Cottondale on July 14 2006 but missed, according to the docket at the Mhala police station.

He said he was expelled from the ANC a few days later for blowing the whistle on the party's corrupt councillors in the Bohlabela district.

Ndlovu's house in Orinoco village near Thulamahashe was sprayed with AK-47 bullets on July 17 2006.

"But the case did not go far because some politicians in the province work hand in hand with top police officers," he said.

The survivor of Mpumalanga's political mayhem also referred to an incident in which Caswell Maluleke, then mayor of Bohlabela and now speaker of the Ehlanzeni district in Nelspruit, was shot 15 times in April 2000.

Limpopo's then police spokesman Director Phuti Setati refused to link Maluleke's shooting to politics, saying "we can't speculate".

Ndlovu said unless police improved their efforts to protect politicians in Mpumalanga, "we will all be finished through the barrel of a gun".

Though suspects had been arrested in some of the shootings they were acquitted or had their cases withdrawn.

"Corruption and the assassination of people are the order of the day in this province," Ndlovu said. "I was expelled from the ANC for blowing the whistle on corruption."

Mohlala will be buried in KaNyamazane on Sunday.