The police say they are busy investigating and will come to the bottom of the matter.
Some in Mpumalanga tenderpreneurial circles are suspecting that businessman Mabuya Manana’s murder was a ‘hit’.
A ‘hit’ is actually an assassination but the police say they will stick to the term ‘murder’ as “people will always talk stories”.
“We will leave no stone unturned. People can talk stories, we are not losing focus and if it was a hit we will get to the bottom of the matter as we are busy investigating,” police spokesman Colonel Mtsholi Bhembe said Thursday mid-day.
Manana, a millionaire from Mbombela, was killed on the Friday afternoon of 8 March 2019 in Down Town eMalahleni. He was shot multiple times, including one bullet wound on his lower shoulder that sources say showed his killer continued to shoot him even after he was facing down and struggling on the ground from the hail of bullets.
Manana was a tenderprenuer in the Mpumalanga province and traded through a company called Lima Liqhame Investments, getting a number of quite greener contracts with municipalities.
His job was to collect rates on behalf of the municipalities and take a commission of between 20% to 25%, meaning when he collected R100 million from households and ratepayers, between R20 million to R25 million went to him.
He did most of his work with municipalities in Gert Sibande, particularly Msukaligwa in Ermelo and Dipaleseng in Balfour, Mkhondo in Piet Retief as well as Gert Sibande District municipality.
On the fateful day of 8 March 2019, Manana drove in his white Audi TT to the Nkangala district municipality in Middleburg in order to present his business idea to officials of all six municipalities that fall under the district.
He had, as a debt collector, wanted to assist the various municipalities falling under the district municipality, particularly the debt-burden eMalahleni local municipality, collect its rates and recover what is owed to it by residents.
After the meeting at the Nkangala district municipality on that unfortunate Friday the multi-millionaire, originally from KaNyamazane in the Mbombela area, drove to the Fortis Hotel in Down Town eMalahleni, where he ordered food for himself and the man he was driving with.
The man was apparently his personal security assistant but sources who are following the case say the man did not have a gun on him on the afternoon Manana got involved in that fatal shootout. It is still not clear who else was with Manana at the hotel while he was having lunch.
After that the 37-year-old Manana left the hotel with his guard only to be gunned down just 700 meters away from the hotel.
He was killed on corner of Arras and Beaty Avenue during a reported shootout, allegedly as a result of “road rage”. The Fortis Hotel is also situated on Beaty Avenue.
The shootout was between Manana and the driver of a white Toyota Tazz, according to reports. He died later in hospital and the suspect handed himself over to cops.
Police picked up more than 16 bullet shells from the scene and said both guns were sent for ballistics investigations.
Manana’s friends and family have been left both shattered and shivering, believing the man was “put aside”.
“They assassinated him chief, that thing was staged” one of his friends said.
“It has to do with politics. The current transition [where DD Mabuza is no longer here] it’s a dog eat dog world,” the friend said.
“Nobody is safe. We don’t know the toes we are stepping on when we move around our province,” he said.
“Think about it, how can you have a bodyguard who is meant to protect you but he is not carrying a gun and he is also not injured during the shootout, something is funny there.
“I started worrying when MJ said he was starting to do work in eMalahleni because that place is so contested,” the friend added
Three weeks ago a suspect in the businessman’s murder was released by the eMalahleni Magistrates Court after prosecutors found there was insufficient evidence to continue with the case. They released the man on warning and returned the docket to cops to find the sufficient evidence that will make prosecution possible.
After that the man can be notified of a date to appear in court.
The police in the province say they are aiming to “leave no stone unturned”.
“People can talk stories, we are not losing focus and if it was a hit we will get to the bottom of the matter as we are busy investigating. We ask people to allow us to do our job,” police spokesman Colonel Mtsholi Bhembe said.
(edited by MLM)
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