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Family, friends hope three suspects arrested for Maluleke's murder will shed light on why he was killed

Zoe Mahopo Journalist
Collins Chabane mayor Moses Maluleke was fatally shot at his Limpopo home. File photo.
Collins Chabane mayor Moses Maluleke was fatally shot at his Limpopo home. File photo.
Image: Collins Chabane Local Municipality

Colleagues and friends of a Limpopo mayor who was gunned down last week hope the arrest of three suspects linked to his murder will reveal the motive behind the killing.

This is after police minister Bheki Cele announced on Friday that three men were arrested and charged with the murder of Collins Chabane local municipality mayor Moses Maluleke. Maluleke was gunned down at his home in Shikundi village near Malamulele while his 18-year-old son was injured during the incident.

Cele, who spoke during a briefing in Johannesburg, said the trio were arrested on Thursday night.  

Speaker of council at the Collins Chabane local municipality Thinangwa Mbedzi said they were relieved that the arrest was made.

“We want to know the motive and why they targeted our mayor. They must also tell us who sent them,” she said. Mbedzi said they had been praying for a breakthrough in the case and hoped to get justice.

She said Maluleke’s death has brought devastation to the community as he had managed to change things for the better at the municipality. She said since his tenure, the municipality had been getting qualified audits while there were notable improvements in service delivery.

The news of the arrest broke as Maluleke’s family prepares for his funeral which is set to be held on August 2 at the Saselemani stadium at 6am.

Maluleke’s close friend and member of council Joseph Mabasa said they also welcomed the arrest.

Mabasa, who was among the first few people to arrive at the scene after the shooting, said he was also looking forward to getting more answers from the culprits in hope of understanding why Maluleke was murdered.

On the day that Maluleke was killed, Mabasa had been attending PEC meetings. Mabasa received a disturbing phone call from a neighbour while he was at a second meeting which started around 6.30pm telling him that Maluleke had been shot.

He said upon arriving at the family’s home there were few people who had gathered at the scene while Maluleke lay in a pool of blood. 

Mabasa said although the motive is unknown he suspects that Maluleke could have been targeted because he stood in the way of those who want to benefit from corruption.

“According to me he had no enemies but I suspect that because he was an ethical leader, people could not manage to get what they want,” he said. 

Maluleke’s younger brother Etkin Maluleke said they were puzzled as to why someone would want to kill him. He said after the incident they noticed that nothing valuable was taken from the house which ruled out the possibility of robbery.

“I think he was assassinated. But I don’t know what the motive was. It’s very concerning because he was a very quiet guy and he never made enemies,” he said.   

Maluleke took over the mayoral position after the municipality was marred with allegations of corruption linked to the VBS saga. Officials, including the former mayor and chief financial officer, were arrested after R120m from the municipality’s coffers was invested in the VBS bank.

Police had previously reported that Maluleke was shot and killed when three men entered his home while demanding money. Authorities had also offered a R250,000 reward to members of the public who would come forward with information on the case.

mahopoz@sowetan.co.za  

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