Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi has confirmed that ANC branch secretary in the Northern Cape, Zonisele Magawu, was facing a separate charge of housebreaking and the theft of six firearms from Hottie Vermeulen’s farm on November 13, 2015, before he murdered DA councillor Johannes Baaitjies.
Prior to Baatjies’ demise, Zonisele Magawu was awaiting trial after he was caught and arrested alongside a Nigerian for stealing the firearms. It was during the period of his awaiting trial that he was selected as an ANC candidate for the August 3 elections.
Although it is still unclear if the top ANC officer actually murdered his political rival with the firearms he stole at the farm, he has been linked to the murder by his fingerprint. He was apprehended less than 24 hours after the murder.
Meanwhile, Magawu, who appeared in the Postmasburg Magistrate’s Court on August 12 in connection with the murder, is expected to be back in court on September 12 for the housebreaking and theft charge.
Responding, ANC Northern Cape secretary Zamani Saul stated that “the ANC will allow the due process of the courts to take place and, based on that, the ANC will take a decision.”
The deceased, a Danielskuil ward councilor in the Kgatelopele municipality, was killed after he was allegedly lured to what he believed was a business meeting. His body was subsequently dumped near his car in Groenwater in the Northern Cape. He was murdered just hours before he was due to be sworn in.
His business partner, who also fell victim in the hands of the ANC officer, has also died after he was reportedly declared brain-dead by hospital authorities.
Meanwhile, Baaitjies has been buried in Kuilsville in Danielskuil. During the funeral, which had the presence of top DA officials and well-wishers, DA’s national leader, Mmusi Maimane, gave the mourners assurance that the party’s victory would be won “through ballot and not bullet”.