Four suspects arrested for murder of two ANC councillors in 2019 appear in Limpopo court

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Four suspects were remanded in custody by the Mokopane Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo for the murder of an African National Congress (ANC) councillor and the party’s sub-regional secretary in the Mogalakwena Local Municipality in 2019.

The suspects shot and killed ANC councillors Valtyn Kekana and Ralph Kanyane while they were sitting in their vehicles in Mokopane. They were apprehended on Tuesday in various Mokopane locations.

The suspects, Jabu Mashamaite, James Chuma, Nkholo Mangadi and Samuel Mokonyana appeared in court to face various charges. Mashamaite, Chuma and Mangadi each face two counts of murder and one of conspiracy to murder.

Accused number four, Mokonyana, faces two additional charges of alleged possession of illegal firearm and ammunition.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Limpopo spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi says the accused are expected to apply for bail during their next appearance.

Mogalakwena municipal councillor Valtyn Kekana and ANC secretary in Mogalakwena sub-region, Ralph Kanyane, were shot dead by an unknown gunman:

Mokonyane and Mashamaite’s legal representative Ngoako Seabela says his clients are scapegoats.

Seabela says, “Even when my client was called for questioning, I was there. I can tell you that he knows nothing, what is happening here to me is just a joke. I must be honest with you. I’m sorry to say this, but it’s a joke. It’s just that when there’s a case, someone has to be arrested so the police seem to be working…”

“We all know the Hawks, their rates for arrest are always high. But, when you look at the conviction rate, it is very poor. For example, now there are charges that people have been found in possession of firearms, which is not true. No one was found with any firearm,” says Seabela.

Kekana, 54, and Kanyane, 32, were gunned down in what appears to be politically motivated killings.

Kekana, who was also the chairperson of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee, was about to release a report on the financial irregularities at the Mogalakwena Municipality.

Kanyane’s family representative Johanna Kanyane expresses shock that the accused are well-known to them.

“The arrest and the court process are opening old wounds. We want them to rot in jail. It is shocking to learn that we know some of the people who were involved are known to us, we are shocked that Jabu is suspected to be involved, it is shocking.”

Mashamaite is currently an ANC regional executive member in the Waterberg region and also works as a senior official in the Mogalakwena municipality. He faces separate charges of corruption and fraud related to financial transactions in the municipality.

Reaction to the killing of two ANC members in Mokopane, Limpopo: