Two people have been arrested for the murder of a Limpopo ward councillor who was shot dead in his car outside his restaurant in Tubatse, near Burgersfort, on November 26 last year.
Thabang Maupa, an ANC ward councillor of Ward 5 in the Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality, was the “first casualty” of the VBS Mutual Bank scandal, News24 reported at the time.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe told News24: “The deceased, 42, allegedly arrived at this place to assist his wife to close up… and was accosted by an unknown vehicle, and the suspect suddenly started firing shots,” Ngoepe said.
His wife survived the shooting.
On Monday, the South African Police Service (SAPS) management in Limpopo, led by provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba, welcomed the arrests on Friday.
“Since his brutal killing, members of the provincial task and tracking teams that were assembled to hunt down the killers have been hard at work, investigating this case,” provincial spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said in a statement.
“Their efforts paid off when the two suspects were nabbed at gaMaroga village, outside Burgersfort.”
The motive for the killing is still being investigated.
At the time of his murder, Pastor Derick Mosoana, president of Christians of South Africa (COSA), told The Star that this was the “beginning of the onslaught”. Mosoana reportedly said that there had been several attacks on the group of councillors “that is against VBS”.
In a report titled “The great bank heist”, which was published by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) last year, advocate Terry Motau found that the looting of the bank, through the creation of fictitious deposits, totalled more than R2bn.
Several high-ranking politicians have been implicated in the looting of VBS.
Maupa was outspoken about VBS on social media, posting a composite picture on his Facebook page with the message: “#VBS Bank!!! Bring back the money. We want our money for service delivery.”
The composite contains a screenshot of an eNCA broadcast that states the Burgersfort municipality in Limpopo had invested R245m in VBS.
Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality lost R230m. which was invested in VBS. In July last year, Mayor Maudu Phokane said he was unsure if the R230m invested with the controversial VBS bank would be recovered, Steelburger News reported.
“We can confirm that an amount of R230m was invested with VBS Mutual Bank from November 10, 2016, to January 10, 2018. It is not clear at this stage whether the monies will be recovered,” Phokane reportedly said.
According to IOL, Maupa had been receiving death threats and was gunned down following a council meeting in which he “called for decisive measures to be taken against his political seniors implicated in the VBS scandal”.
The arrested suspects, aged 34 and 35, will appear in the Praktiseer Magistrate’s Court outside Burgersfort on Monday on a charge of murder.