The Newcastle Regional Court has handed a two-year jail sentence to the former mayor of Newcastle Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba.
This follows the 40-year-old’s conviction after he was charged with theft, assault and malicious damage to property for assaulting an employee of a fibre cable contractor in Newcastle in September 2020.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Wednesday said Mahlaba was given an option to pay a fine of R20,000 or serve the two-year prison sentence.
“Since the high court had granted an interdict for the work to stop, several community members, including Mahlaba went to the workers serving them with the interdict and asking them to stop.
“When the workers refused to stop, Mahlaba instructed unknown (to the state) people to assault the workers. The people who assaulted the workers also took their tools and damaged the fibre cables,” said the NPA’s spokesperson in KZN, Natasha Kara, in a statement.
Kara said the state, represented by senior prosecutor Israel Zuma, led the evidence of six witnesses who placed Mahlaba at the scene of the incident in the Avairy Hill area in Newcastle.
“The NPA welcomes the successful prosecution,” she said.
Mahlaba is the ANC’s eMalahleni regional chairperson and served his last day in office on Monday as the mayor of Newcastle, before the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) took over the hung council.
Previous brushes with the law
The former mayor has had several brushes with the law in the past.
He was charged in 2019 in connection with the murder of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) regional deputy chairperson Wandile Ngubeni. Ngubeni was shot at a Newcastle restaurant in 2016 while out with friends.
However, the state withdrew the charges against Mahlaba after the death of a key witness.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe