Councillor, 4 others face murder rap

AN IFP councillor in the Mhlabuyalingana municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, Sonto Innocent Mabika, 43, and traditional leader Joseph Vilane, 52, and three others appeared briefly in the Obonjeni magistrate's court facing a charge of murder and kidnapping.

AN IFP councillor in the Mhlabuyalingana municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, Sonto Innocent Mabika, 43, and traditional leader Joseph Vilane, 52, and three others appeared briefly in the Obonjeni magistrate's court facing a charge of murder and kidnapping.

Mabika appeared with former IFP councillor and his predecessor, Mpiyakhe Zakhele Mhlongo, 37, Mbongeni Mlambo, 37, and Samkelo Gina, 54.

Mabika and Vilane were the first to be arrested last Monday evening. The other three accused were arrested later.

Their arrest follows the disappearance of S'thembiso Tembe, 36, of Thandizwe in the Manguzi area, who was days later found dead in the bush.

Tembe was suspected to be one of the people who had allegedly shot Mabika and hijacked his car early last month.

Northern KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Jabulani Mdletshe said the five accused were arrested after police investigations linked them to the murder.

They are expected to appear again next Wednesday for a formal bail application.

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