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Man alleged to have killed SMME leader appeared in Motherwell court

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 11, 2019
Man alleged to have killed SMME leader appeared in Motherwell court

A 40-year-old man arrested by Port Elizabeth police for the alleged murder of Nelson Mandela Bay Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMME) leader, Baba Ningi, made an appearance before the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning.

A placard by a local resident, which read; ‘No bail to the killer of Baba Ningi’ summed up the mood of residents and people, who attended the court appearance.

The 40-year-old was arrested on Friday at his home in Sydenham, Port Elizabeth.

He cannot be named because he did not plead on Monday; instead his case was postponed to the 20th of March.

The suspect has since been charged for murder, attempted murder and the illegal possession of an unlicensed fire arm and ammunition.

Baba Ningi shot and killed

Ningi was shot dead in January just outside the Lifa and Mafa Butchery in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.

Mystery still surrounds what led to Ningi's murder. He had apparently fallen out with other business-owners after a photo of him and a young woman (apparently his daughter) carrying large sums of money made rounds on social media at a time when some Nelson Mandela Bay SMMEs alleged that they were struggling after not being paid.

Some SMME owners claimed that Ningi and another Black Business Caucus coordinator, Lithemba Singaphi, had paid themselves millions of Rand meant for them.

Ningi denied the allegations and said that what was circulated was an old photo.

It is alleged that Ningi was killed following an argument inside the butchery. As he walked to his car, gunmen opened fire on him.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bibani, had to call for calm after tensions rose following the murder.

Protests outside the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court

While the court was in session, a group of about 100 SMME owners gathered outside the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court and called on the Magistrate to not give the suspect bail.

The man was apparently arrested following another murder and attempted murder that took place on 2 March 2019, at 23:30, at a tavern in Chalumna Street, Motherwell.

In this incident, it is alleged that three armed suspects entered the tavern and opened fire on two persons.

Forty-year-old Mkhuseli Assistant Yani was fatally wounded and passed away at the Motherwell Clinic.

Another 35-year-old male was wounded and is still in critical condition in hospital. His name and the cannot be named for security reasons.

Police later traced the 40-year-old suspect and arrested him at his home in Gudwin Street, Sydenham on Friday, at 04:00.

According to police information, when his Mercedes Benz was searched, a .45 calibre pistol, three magazines and 23 rounds of ammunition were found.

Police spokesperson, Captain Andre Beetge, said that the serial number of the firearm was filed off.

The firearm will be sent for forensic and ballistic analysis to see if it can be linked to the shootings as well as other crimes.

The family of the late Ningi, who also attended Monday’s court hearing, refused to comment.

“I will not comment, because we have all agreed to not speak to the media today and that is what I will do,” said a man, who spoke on behalf of the Ningi family.

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