Hat Tip: Ingrid
Disgruntled assassins tip off police about hit:
Plots revealed against five other officials
Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka has revealed that the plot to murder George Mthimunye - seconded by Shiceka's department to clean up the Naledi local municipality in Vryburg, North West - is not unique.
Speaking to The Times yesterday, Shiceka said his department has uncovered plots to assassinate five other administrators of municipalities in the same province, all assigned to root out corruption.
He would not name the municipalities to which they had been dispatched.
On Friday, North West police were contacted by one of the three men hired as assassins by two officials, and by a woman the officials had asked to arrange Mthimunye's murder.
The hitmen were hired after Mthimunye uncovered a spate of irregularities in tenders the municipality awarded.
In May, The Times broke the news that Mthimunye had uncovered a housing tender fiasco, in which the municipality paid R86-million for 470 low-cost homes in the area but only four were properly built.
Mthimunye suspended the two officials - one of whom was a project manager - after uncovering tender corruption in which the two were allegedly involved.
The officials had allegedly promised to pay the assassins R100000 for the murder, but then tried to bargain the men down to R75000 - which they refused to accept.
One of the hitmen, who told the police of the plot, has turned state witness. It is not known whether the remaining two hitmen will be charged.
Police spokesman Colonel Junior Metsi said the accused were aged between 45 and 49. Their names cannot be released because they have not appeared in court.
They will appear in the Vryburg Magistrate's Court this morning on charges of conspiracy to murder.
Metsi said details of the corruption in which the officials were involved will be revealed in court.
Shiceka told The Times yesterday that he was aware of the plot against Mthimunye and five other administrators. He said that it was the first time that local government administrators had been targeted in this way.
"The Mthimunye plot is part of a bigger plot. They have done the same all over North West, and their aim is to eliminate people they believe are there to make them pay for the corruption they have committed," he said.
Shiceka said he spoke to Mthimunye on Saturday, after he received word of the arrests, and had told him that he was "not intimidated".
"The reason for these plots is because we are beginning to charge people who are responsible for corruption, and the police are arresting all the suspects," he said.
Shiceka said he had "constant meetings" with the other administrators whose lives were believed to be in danger.
Twelve people - including local government councillors and officials - have been killed and others have disappeared without trace since 1998 after questioning the awarding of tenders in Mpumalanga.
Earlier this year, Sammy Mpatlanyane, spokesman for Mpumalanga's Department of Arts, Culture and Sport, was gunned down at his home in Nelspruit. He was regarded as an obstacle by an unnamed "ANC boss", reported the Sunday Times, to winning irregular World Cup tenders. Whistleblower and speaker Jimmy Mohlala was shot dead at his house near Nelspruit.