A KwaZulu-Natal town councillor is set to appear in the Madadeni Magistrate Court on Monday for allegedly orchestrating the bombing of the home of a fellow public official in Newcastle two years ago.
It was announced earlier that a team led by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), which included the South African Police Service's Crime Intelligence Division and other units, arrested the man on Saturday.
The 36-year-old from the Amajuba District Municipality is said to have been the mastermind behind the 2015 bombing of the home of his 46-year-old colleague, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.
Political violence has attracted attention in recent weeks following a spate of high-profile murders since the 2016 local government elections. Of all the provinces, KwaZulu-Natal has been hit especially hard, with Police Minister Fikile Mbalula revealing earlier this month that 24 councillors had been killed in the province in the eight-year period ending on 31 August this year, compared to seven in Mpumalanga, five in the Eastern Cape, four in Gauteng, three in the North West and one each in the Free State and the Western Cape. The Moerane Commission was appointed to investigate political killings in the province and has been in session this past month.
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"It is alleged unknown suspects planted explosives, which later discharged and caused extensive damage. At the time, it was suspected the explosion was caused by bad plumbing, since the explosives were allegedly concealed next to the geyser," Mulaudzi said. No case was opened then, but new information that emerged last month has now led to the arrest.
"It is understood that the two councillors had a fallout," Mulaudzi explained, and there were also "allegations of undue influence and possible corruption". The suspect allegedly orchestrated the murder of his colleague to prevent the exposure of his alleged "underground dealings".AD: Fight for councillor jobs behind KZN political killings, commission hears
In addition, the accused allegedly requested potential witnesses not to co-operate with authorities in the investigation, Mulaudzi said, promising them cash in return for the favour.
"On Saturday, the team reined in the suspect, and he has been charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, defeating the ends of justice and violation of the Explosives Act."