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Three most wanted cross-border vehicle smuggling suspects arrested for murder of KwaZulu-Natal anti-crime activist, Juda Mthethwa

Media Statement
South African Police Service

UMKHANYAKUDE - The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Fannie Masemola says he is confident that the task team deployed to clamp down on cross-border vehicle smuggling syndicates in Northern KwaZulu-Natal continues to make inroads.

This week, three more suspects belonging to a syndicate that had been smuggling stolen vehicles across the border to Mozambique were arrested.

Two of the suspects are also accused of killing a prominent anti-crime activist, Sipho “Juda” Mthethwa who was gunned down outside his home in February this year.

Mthethwa also served as the Chairperson of the Umhlabuyalingana Society Against Crime organisation and was at the forefront in the fight against cross-border crime in areas around uMkhanyakude.

36-year-old Thokozani Dlamini, 36-year-old Sipho Mhlanga and 28-year-old Xolani Mkhwanazi were arrested during a takedown operation in Empangeni this week.

In their possession they were found with two unlicensed pistols and several rounds of ammunition. The firearms have been taken in for ballistic testing to determine if they have been used in the commission of crimes.

The three have already appeared before various courts in Northern KwaZulu-Natal including, Empangeni, Emanguzi and Ngwelezane Magistrate’s Court on a charge of murder, kidnapping, car hijacking, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition as well as house robbery. The trio is being linked to at least 52 more cases linked to car hijackings in Northern KZN.

“We will continue to respond accordingly to ensure we prevent and combat crime in communities like Umkhanyakude. Since the inception of crime combatting operations like Operation Shanela we have managed to arrest 99 754 suspects with a bid to ensure safer communities since 08 May 2023”, said General Masemola.

The task team is confident that more arrests and vehicles will be recovered in the area.


Brigadier Athlenda Mathe
082 040 8808