Mpumalanga Agriculture MEC, Mandla Msibi has been fired. Msibi is facing two counts of murder and one of attempted murder for the alleged gunning down of three men on August 22. Two of the men died.
He handed himself over to police yesterday and appeared in court again today. He has been remanded in custody.
Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane made the announcement at a media briefing.
“I have decided, after consultation with the ANC leadership in the province, to release MEC Msibi from his position in the Provincial Executive Council with immediate effect. The decision to relieve MEC Msibi has been taken in consideration of the seriousness of the charges he is facing.”
Murder-accused Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi fired:
Mtsweni-Tsipane was quick to point out, “Whilst I release MEC Msibi from his role and responsibilities, I wish to emphasize and accordingly observe the two basic pillars of our jurisprudence: the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and the right to equality before the law.”
She has further announced that MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, MEC Busisiwe Shiba will continue to act as MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs.
Msibi’s bail application was earlier in the day postponed to Wednesday at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court.
The Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court was a hive of activity when Msibi made his second court appearance.
An SABC News crew was on Monday chased from court by alleged Msibi supporters ahead of his first appearance.
The supporters were again in court in their large numbers on Tuesday. They say the charges are politically motivated.
“I am going with Mandla Msibi. He is in control, no matter what they say. We are not afraid,” says one of Msibi’s supporters.
“We are here to support the commander. I am from Ward 4. We are here to support the commander until further notice. We are not above the law, but we know the law and we respect the law, but the politicians at Mpumalanga, we know it is not the correct politics,” says another supporter.
Provincial Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Monica Nyuswa confirmed that the matter has been postponed.
“After their appearance in court yesterday, their bail application started and was rolled over until today’s hearing where their defence attorney read their statements in court in their application for bail and now the matter is rolled over until tomorrow the 13th of October 2021 for further hearing where the state will lead evidence of the investigating officer in the matter,” says Nyuswa.
The ANC has raised concerns about Msibi’s arrest.
Police deployed more officials to the court.
National Police Spokersperson Vishnu Naidoo says, “Following the court appearance of MEC Mandla Msibi today in Mpumalanga and the risk profile associated with the case SAPS has deployed contingency police from at least two disciplines of the South African Police Service, the deployments are intended to ensure the mitigation of all potential risks.”
Msibi has been remanded in custody. The bail application continues on Wednesday.
Video: MEC Arrest | Mandla Msibi charged with two counts of murder, one attempted murder