The last time former City of Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala’s widow Bonny got an update about the investigation into her husband’s assassination was five years ago.
Yesterday marked 10 years since Mohlala was shot dead at his home in Kanyamazane outside Mbombela.
Mohlala was ambushed and killed on January 5 2009, shortly before he was due to lay criminal charges related to massive corruption he had uncovered around tenders for the R1.2 billion Mbombela Stadium for the 2010 World Cup.
No one has been jailed for killing him.
For Bonny, it has been an excruciating decade of waiting and hoping that her husband’s killer would be found.
“I feel very, very bad,” she said on Friday. “The children are looking to me for answers to their father’s death, but I know nothing. I think it’s been five years since I heard anything from the police.”
However, Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said it may not be true that Bonny was last updated in 2014.
“The investigating officer does not remember when he last spoke to Mrs Mohlala, but it’s certainly not five years ago. The fact is that there has been no development in the case,” Hlathi said.
The widow also said she did not know who the investigating officer of her husband’s case was and she was only able to catch up on the status of the case through the media.
“There’s no closure. It is painful that the perpetrators and whoever hired them are walking free. Our hope is on God to help us,” Bonny said.
“Right now, we’re pointing fingers at each other. Police also beat me up for my husband’s murder. People out there are talking, but we can’t take whatever they say without any evidence,” she added, referring to an incident after Mohlala’s death when police assaulted her and her children in an attempt to force her to confess to killing Mohlala.
She said every politician who had tried to help her pulled out without any explanation and her daughter, who worked for the City of Mbombela, was kicked out of her job.
“This case involves politicians and I think they want to bury the case,” Bonny alleged.
Hlathi said the case was still under investigation and the docket was handed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to make a decision.
Police thought they had made a breakthrough on October 4 2010, but it turned out that they rushed into arresting people without concrete evidence. They arrested five suspects – Jenny Mabika (58), her son Sakhile (31) and Moses Mahungela (33), as well as policemen Musa Finish Mkhabela (31) and Dumisani Stanley Mhlanga (34). The suspects were released in 2012 when the murder charge was withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.
Police relied on an affidavit made by Mabika’s other son, Evans, who alleged that he overheard the five hatching the plot. Evans, however, waited for a year and nine months to break his silence and had previously framed Sakhile for stealing his girlfriend’s car.
No progress on corruption case
The NPA also closed the corruption case relating to the Mbombela Stadium tenders due to insufficient evidence.
In 2012, the Hawks arrested Kaizer Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung and his business partner Herbert Theledi, as well as Chris Grip, the former chief executive officer at their company Lefika Emerging Equity.
They were charged with R143 million fraud for allegedly using a false tax certificate when Lefika submitted a bid for a tender to design the stadium.
They also allegedly forged a Mbombela council letter and faked the signature of former Mbombela municipal manager Sgananda Siboza to obtain a R1 million overdraft from a bank.
Motaung, Theledi and Grip also faced charges of theft, fraud and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act relating to stadium tenders valued at R920 million. Their co-accused were former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla, Ehlanzeni district technical director Tebogo Kubeka and Grip’s lawyer Michael Ramos.
City Press understands that the Hawks and the NPA met last year in a bid to revive the case, which was withdrawn in the Nelspruit Regional Court under questionable circumstances. The case was withdrawn in 2014 when NPA officials failed to agree on whether the trial should be heard in the regional court or transferred to the Pretoria High Court.
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