Nkandla: ‘Murdered Family Members Could Be Warning…’

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Remember Nkandla?

It is South African President Jacob Zuma’s private home which last year underwent alleged irregular multi-million rand upgrades and became a source of controversy which culminated in the SA Police raiding Parliament to sack an opposition MP.

It is still tending, but it appears to have assumed a more sinister, and dark aspect.

Supposed armed robbers have gruesomely murdered two close family members of two contractors who handled some aspects of the hugely profitable upgrading, one after the other within 40 days.

Two close family members of high-profile people linked to the allegedly irregular multimillion-rand upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead have been murdered within a month of each other.

And there is suspicion that the murders could be warnings to the implicated family members to keep quiet or …

“It’s just a thought and not a fact, because there is no evidence to back that up.  On the other hand it could have been just a robbery in which the robbers just didn’t care about the results of shooting at him…. We think a lot and we have questions, but no answers”, said a brother of one of the deceased.

The latest is Bavelile Mahlalempini-Mqadi, the 64-year-old mother of uMhlanga businesswoman, Thandeka Nene, the Nkandla builder who was recently arrested as investigators sought to uncover who had irregularly benefited from the mammoth project.

Mahlalempini-Mqadi was stabbed 21 times – in front of three nephews – at her Nagina home near Pinetown at night. Six men entered and ransacked the house before killing her and fleeing with a car.

Nene’s liquidated company, Bonelena Construction Enterprise, had secured a R90 million contract to upgrade Zuma’s private home.

The death of her mother came 35 days after Sergeant-Major Shanilnand Indurjith, 45, the head of the SANDF’s health unit in Durban, was gunned down at a bus stop in Phoenix.

His brother – former surgeon-general Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan – had been linked to the Nkandla affair for allegedly authorizing construction of a helipad, military quarters and a military clinic at the Zuma homestead.

Speaking to newsmen at her mother’s Nagina home, Nene said she was puzzled by the murder.

But, she blamed the media for publicizing the fraud and corruption charges against her.

The state alleges she bribed a Department of Public Works official to secure R118m worth of contracts for the construction of schools and hospitals between 2006 and 2012.

“To people reading the paper they think I have been awarded a R118m contract, but that’s not true – that work was awarded over a period of time,” she said.

“People think that because they know my mother they will get money from her, because the criminals were asking her ‘iphi imali? (where is the money?), sifun’imali mama (we want the money).’

“This worries me because these big figures make people think we have money, and we have not been awarded any work this whole year,” she said.

Nene’s husband, Sikhumbuzo, said six men “stabbed” her 21 times all over the body and tied the guys (her nephews) with cable ties. One of them had a gun and was showing it to them. They stabbed her in front of the boys until she collapsed to the ground.”

They were then shoved into wardrobes before the criminals ransacked the house and stole television sets and a car. 

In a statement released by the military after his brother’s death, Ramlakan said the death of his youngest brother had nothing to do with the Nkandla matter.

Police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, said four men were arrested near uMzinto in connection with Mahlalempini-Mqadi’s murder and would appear at the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court 

Police were still searching for other suspects, he said.

They face charges of murder, house robbery and theft of a motor vehicle.

While police believe robbery was the motive, Sikhumbuzo said they questioned why his mother-in-law, who had founded the Power of God Assembly, had to be murdered.

He said she had no enemies.

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