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Councillor and two other victims fatally shot in Piet Retief

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner Mpumalanga

NELSPRUIT - The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has strongly condemned the fatal shooting incident at Longhomes in Piet Retief whereby a Councillor, identified as Mr Sbonelo Mthembu (36) as well as two other males were gunned down last night, Friday 13 January 2023 around 20h00.

According to the report, the three were shot at a certain yard in Mkhondo. Further information indicates that the Councillor as well as his mechanic were dropped off by a friend who was driving a bakkie when suddenly three armed men appeared in the yard. The suspects reportedly fired multiple shots at the Councillor who was in the yard, and also fatally shot the friend who was still inside his bakkie. The mechanic did not escape the shooting as he was shot by the same suspects whilst in the yard as well. Thereafter the three suspects fled into an unknown direction.

The Police at Piet Retief as well as the paramedics were informed about the incident whilst the Councillor and his mechanic were privately taken to a nearby hospital. The mechanic was unfortunately certified dead on arrival meanwhile the Councillor succumbed to his injuries moments later.

When police and medical practitioners arrived at the scene, they found a male victim lying motionless behind a steering wheel of a white bakkie with a gunshot wound. The paramedics certified him dead at the scene.

A case of three counts of murder was opened and the suspects are still at large.

Police urge anyone with information that may assist in apprehending the perpetrators to call the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111 or send information via MySAPS App. All received information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous.

A dedicated team of experts in the field of investigation was immediately assembled under the leadership of the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela to probe this disheartening incident with an anticipation to swiftly bring perpetrators thereof to book.


Colonel Donald Mdhluli
082 608 6540