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AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Hawks officers arrest fourth suspect in murder of activist Loyiso Nkohla

Hawks officers arrest fourth suspect in murder of activist Loyiso Nkohla
Mzubanzi Chulayo, also known as Maya or Sgwili, has been arrested in connection with the Philippi train station murder of activist Loyiso Nkohla on 17 April 2023. (Photo: Supplied)

An Athlone court heard a week ago that suspects were paid R20,000 to kill activist Loyiso Nkohla, and that his wife had also been targeted. A fourth suspect is now in custody. He appeared briefly in court on Tuesday.

A fourth suspect in the murder of activist Loyiso Nkohla appeared in the East London Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after being arrested by the Serious Organised Crime Investigation team.

Mzubanzi Chulayo (41) was apprehended in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape, where he was appearing in court on an unrelated matter.

Chulayo is expected to join his co-accused Mziyanda Mdlungu on 1 December in the Athlone Magistrates’ Court in Cape Town, said Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Siyabulela Vukubi.

About two weeks ago, Thobani Maxengana (39), the director of Limise Protection Services (Pty) Ltd – who is believed to have been the mastermind of the killing – died while in the holding cells at the East London Magistrates’ Court.

Authorities said he died of a heart attack. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Suspected activist murder mastermind dies while in police custody

Nkohla was killed in a hail of bullets at Philippi railway station in Cape Town on 17 April. It is believed he was targeted for his role in talks to clear Metrorail’s Central Line, where families had built homes along the line.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Shock and sadness after former ‘poo fighter’ Loyiso Nkohla gunned down in Philippi

Last week, alarming revelations surrounding his death were made at the Athlone Magistrates’ Court where suspects, 38-year-old Zukisa Tshabile and Mdlungu, are appearing. 

Mdlungu is accused of driving the getaway car.

Reading the charge sheet, the prosecutor told the court that Mdlungu and a group of individuals, including the late Maxengana, held a meeting the day before the hit.

Following the killing of Nkohla, Mdlungu allegedly received a call to pick up the shooters, but they had already fled the scene on foot and met up later. 

“He [Mdlungu] agreed with Thobani to kill Loyiso. In addition, [for the] conspiracy to commit murder [charge], the second target was Nyameka Mabandla [Nkohla’s wife]. She was supposed to be shot.

“Accused was in agreement. After the murder of Nyameka, his wife, he would be paid, to which the accused agreed.”

Mdlungu then allegedly made a call to Maxengana informing him that they had carried out the hit. The suspect allegedly received a sum of R20,000 from Maxengana in May 2023, according to the charge sheet.

Police linked the suspects to the murder through cellphone and bank records. 

In a statement released to the media, Nkohla’s widow, Nyameka, revealed that two weeks before her husband was murdered, Mdlungu attended the funeral of Nkohla’s mother in Peddie, Eastern Cape. They reportedly came from the same town.

Nyameka also revealed that Mdlungu visited their home during the prayer services for her mother-in-law.

She said she found it strange that, following Nkohla’s death, Mdlungu neither attended any prayer, memorial or funeral service for her late husband, nor did he send any message of condolence to the family.

“I learnt that Thobani Maxengana paid them R20,000 and instructed them to kill Loyiso and me on that fateful day. I too was supposed to have been killed and leave my small children orphaned by someone whom my husband had opened doors and provided opportunity for.

“Thobani portrayed himself as Loyiso’s homeboy and a struggling small businessman who needed a break to support his family. I was looking forward to his day in court. Because of his selfishness and greed, both my children and his will grow up without a father figure.”

The head of the Hawks in the Western Cape, Major General Mathipa Makgato, praised the officers for bringing the alleged perpetrators to book. DM

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