In a shocking turn of events, the man believed to be the mastermind behind the murder of well-known activist Loyiso Nkohla-Mabandla has died while in police custody. The 39-year-old suspect, who was arrested in Peddie in the Eastern Cape, was scheduled to appear in court but passed away in the holding cells due to a heart attack.
Hawks spokesman Colonel Siyabulela Vukubi confirmed the suspect’s death, stating that no foul play is suspected. “The 39-year-old suspect who was supposed to appear in the East London Magistrates Court this morning in connection with Loyiso Mabandla’s murder was found dead in the holding cells. It is confirmed that he died of a heart attack early this morning,” said Vukubi.
The arrests in Loyiso’s case started in October with the arrest of Zukisa Tshabile(38) on October 27th. This led to the apprehension of another suspect, Mziyanda Mdlungu (38), in Tshwane on Monday 13 November. Mdlungu is expected to stand trial alongside Tshabile in Cape Town. However the unexpected death of of the third suspect who is believed to be the mastermind had the case take a dark turn.
After the arrest on Thursday, Loyiso’s widow, Nyameka KwaLunga Mabandla, expressed her belief that the arrested person was the mastermind behind her husband’s death. She stated, “Mastermind arrested, to appear in East London Magistrate Court tomorrow. He will also appear in Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday.” Due to the sad developments, Mdlungu will appear in court alone.
During Zukisa Tshabile’s first court appearance, the State revealed that a security company owner allegedly planned the attack on Loyiso. The connection between Tshabile and the alleged mastermind was established through cell phone and bank records.