Case against Phelele Shongwe not in court

The incident that he was arrested for occured at an ANCYL elective conference in May 2018.

The case against a mayor’s personal security assistant who was up following the killing of MKMVA member Samson Madonsela is not on the court’s roll yet, officials have told this paper.

Earlier, 013NEWS was told by a highly-placed police source that the matter was actually withdrawn owing to “political pressure” and that this occured after a “mediation between the parties was reached”.

But police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi rejected this, saying the matter was still under investigations and they will then approach the prosecutors once investigations were done.

He said there were two different matters in the case that the source was “confusing”.

“The first one is the one of pointing a firearm, I’m sure you remember that one, which yes was withdrawn after the complainant and the accused spoke and agreed,” Hlathi said over the phone.

“Then the second one is the murder, which we are currently busy investigating. We have not charged anybody on it,” Hlathi said. “All of that will happen once investigations have concluded,” he said.

“Yes, the one of pointing of firearm was withdrawn,” Hlathi said.

Shongwe is Gert Sibande mayor Muzi Chirwa’s security aide.

He was arrested after Madonsela was shot dead outside the Chief Albert Luthuli municipal offices in Badplaas, reportedly when chaos erupted while delegates were collecting accreditation cards to attend the Gert Sibande ANCYL regional elective conference on 26 May 2018.

Madonsela had been part of other veterans who were providing security to the venue and Shongwe had allegedly been there accompanying Chirwa.

Shongwe had been facing a charge of murder, attempted murder, pointing of a firearm and assault.

But after appearing at the Carolina Magistrates Court on 29 May he got released on a R10 000 bail and the charges against him were reduced to only three counts of attempted murder and pointing of a firearm in order to allow police “to broaden the scope of the investigation”.

“The suspect is charged with three counts but murder is not one of them yet. We have been given a task to broaden the scope of the investigation,” Hlathi said at the time of Shongwe’s case.

NPA spokeswoman Monica Nyuswa confirmed a week ago the matter is not with them.

“The matter is not yet on the court’s roll. It is still with the police. They are busy with investigations, please talk to them. We can only comment once it has been given to us and we can begin prosecution,” she said.

Case against Phelele Shongwe not in court

Shongwe, who is also a member of the MKMVA and a former SANDF soldier, is originally from Ermelo.

In 1998, Shongwe appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to answer for two counts of murder, one of attempted murder and another of illegal possession of firearms after he killed an IFP member and then a National Party member before seriously injuring another during a political violence towards the 1994 general elections.

He was a member of an ANC’s self-defence structure that was organised in Ermelo townships to fight off the IFP and the Black Cats.

The Black Cats – popularly known as ‘Makati’ in Ermelo streets – was the IFP’s violent group in those days opposed to Nelson Mandela becoming the President of South Africa and had been maiming and gunning down SACP, Cosatu, ANC and other community members accused of supporting the ANC.

One day on 22 October 1993, the young Shongwe found himself forced to kill the group’s Bongani Malinga in Ermelo’s Extension township with 11 bullets before fleeing the area to White River, where he got into bitter confrontation with NP members.

He told the TRC on 29 July 1998 that Malinga had been one of those who were playing key roles in terrorising the community and when he saw him on that day few houses from his home he “ran straight to him and shot him”.

“I shot him in the leg and he fell onto the ground. I proceeded to him or towards him. I think I shot him about three times in the ribs and when I was closer to him, I shot him at close range. The firearm was loaded with 15 bullets and I ran off from the scene and I think I shot him about 11 times, because I was left with only four bullets,” he told commission chair Desmond Tutu.

Case against Phelele Shongwe not in court

He then fled the area to White River, where he got into an ugly fight with NP members who didn’t want him in the area.

There in White River Shongwe killed the NP’s Ernest Malele on 15 February 1994 before seriously injuring another NP member, using a gun he robbed a police officer and then set Malele’s car alight.

Both Malele and the unidentified NP member had come to the White River place where Shongwe had been staying, armed with pangas but Shongwe pulled out his gun and shot at them as they were entering the door.

He was arrested but soon after the trial had started the Judge set the matter aside, citing lack of enough evidence.

The commission granted him amnesty.

(edited by ZK)

Send tip-offs to [email protected]