Breakthrough in KwaDube Tribal Authority case

Slain tribal leader Hendrick Mahlawula

A YEAR after KwaDube Tribal Authority Administrator Hendrick Mahlawula (60), was gunned down in his car at eMabuyeni area, police last week finally had a breakthrough in the investigation.

The Provincial Task Team arrested two suspects aged 33 and 38 years, and charged them with murder on Wednesday.

The pair, who are already serving a prison sentence for other crimes, are believed to be linked to the gruesome killing.

Mahlawula was on his way home from a community event with other passengers in December last year, when he was attacked by armed men travelling in a Citi Golf vehicle.

His car was riddled with 16 bullets after armed men opened fire.

He sustained two bullets wounds to his upper back and one to his leg and died on the scene.

The slaying unleashed a fountain of grief from royalty to ordinary citizens.

It was suspected the killing was linked to the dispute which arose after he was appointed as council administrator by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), following the death of acting Chief Charles Chili.

The appointment resulted in angry protests by villagers.

Furious community members had misinterpreted his appointment as a usurping of power.

It was later revealed his duty was to merely take over the Tribal Council functions while Cogta and the Dube family decided on the rightful person to take over the chieftancy.

On Wednesday, the KZN Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Mmamonnye Ngobeni applauded police for the arrests.

‘Their skill and determination is highly appreciated and our investigators will send a thoroughly prepared docket to court so that the perpetrators can rot in jail,’ she said.

Surrounded by massive security and heavily armed police officers, the two suspects appeared at eSikhawini District Court on Thursday morning.

The case was postponed to 12 January.

Wellington Makwakwa

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