AGE OF THE ASSASSIN
Widow of alleged rhino poaching kingpin Chief Clyde Mnisi gunned down in cold blood
Nine days after Mnisi died in a hail of bullets near the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport near White River, Charlene Felicity Matthews was killed ‘execution style’ in her Mkhulu home.
According to Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, the widow of the slain chief, Charlene Felicity Mathews, was shot multiple times at around 1.10am on Tuesday.
Two other family members, including the Mnisi’s son, were also shot during the attack and later taken to hospital.
Police in Calcutta in Mpumalanga are investigating a case of murder and two attempted murders.
The incident occurred in the early hours of the morning, when the alleged gunmen shot Mathews repeatedly in the head — the hallmarks of a targeted assassination.
The police preliminary inquiry showed that the armed suspect(s) gained entry into the house, shot at the three victims, and then fled the scene. When Calcutta officers arrived shortly after the attack, they discovered the woman’s body.
SAPS management under the leadership of the Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has strongly condemned the shooting.
“Part of the investigation will be to establish how the suspect(s) gained entry into the house. Police found some cartridges on the scene. A team of investigators has been assembled and have already begun the probe with a hope to arrest the perpetrator,” Mohlala explained.
The death of Mathews comes nine days after the assassination of her husband Chief Clyde Mnisi who died of multiple bullet wounds near Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport near White River, late on Sunday 26 March. His killers are still at large.
At the time of his demise, Mnisi and his co-accused faced charges of murder, money laundering, illegal sale of rhino horn and racketeering. He was set to appear in court on 17 April.
Mnisi was previously arrested in 2018 with alleged syndicate members (later assassinated) crime boss Petros Sydney Mabuza, known as Mshengu, and notorious ex-cop Joseph ‘Big Joe’ Nyalungu, in a police operation codenamed Project Broadbill, involving members of the Hawks, the police special task forces, SANParks, the NPA, the SA Revenue Service and the Department of Environmental Affairs.
However, on June 17, 2021, Mabuza was murdered in daylight in front of a petrol station in Hazyview. The upcoming trial against the surviving co-accused will still take place, according to Mpumalanga National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa.
Furthermore, according to a report — Landscapes of Fear by researcher Julian Rademeyer — the syndicate is alleged to have exerted influence over a swathe of territory along Kruger’s western boundary, stretching from Belfast and Cork to the east of Sabi Sands Game Reserve, down to the Shabalala tribal trust area, and Hazyview.
The motive for Mathews’ murder, according to Mohlala, remains unclear and no arrests have been made. Police have asked anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) to contact Crime Stoppers at 08600 10111 or send information via the My SAPS app. DM