Family member, two more arrested for murder of education officer


Two more suspects are in connection with the murder of Dr. Malekutu Johannes Mehlape, the district manager of the department of education in Limpopo, arrested.

Mehlape (56) was shot dead on 28 December at his home in Mankweng, outside Polokwane.

Col. Malesela Ledwaba, spokesperson for the police, says the two suspects, Hlofelo Mogotlane (33) and Tshepo Ranoto (34), on Monday together with Mologadi Mehlape (28) – a family member who was previously arrested in connection with the murder – in the Mankweng Magistrate’s Court appeared.

The suspects are facing charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances as well as possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The case was adjourned until January 22 for formal bail application.

“The two men were arrested in the early hours of Saturday in Zebediela by a team of investigators, including a detection team as well as members of the murder and robbery unit. The team worked with private security companies during the operation.

“During the arrests, a Ford Ranger bakkie was seized, which was allegedly used to commit the crime,” says Ledwaba.

Preliminary investigations show that the deceased’s daughter was attacked by the suspects after she returned from a party. The suspects wanted to know where Mehlape was and robbed one of two people in the house.

“The armed suspects then searched the house and found Mehlape, after which they reportedly demanded cash from him.

“After he gave the suspects money, they shot him and fled the scene,” says Ledwaba.

Lt. Gen. Thembi Hadebe, the provincial police commissioner, praised the team of investigators for the meticulous work to arrest the suspects.

Hadebe ordered the team to leave no stone unturned and to bring those responsible to justice.

More arrests are expected.