Nomfundo Mcetywa, Tribune (Cape Town), September 2, 2007
A mayor in the Northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Dundee has been arrested with two men on charges of murdering a fellow ANC councillor and corruption whistle blower.
Grishen Bujram, a provincial organiser for the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and an SACP member, was shot and killed in his car in the Sibongile area of Dundee in June.
Bujram had been investigating irregularities in housing projects in Dundee and received death threats days before he was killed.
Police spokesperson Director Phindile Radebe said Thandeka Nukani, the ANC mayor of the Endumeni District Council, under which Dundee falls, was arrested on Thursday night, following an investigation by the Organised Crime Unit.
“The mayor was arrested in her office and the two men at their homes in Dundee. They are expected to appear in the Dundee magistrate’s court on Monday,” said Radebe.
Bujram’s wife, Shirley, said she was shocked to hear that Nukani had been arrested.
“When my husband was assassinated, she was one of the first mourners to arrive at my house. She cried with me and seemed sincere in expressing her condolences.”
Bujram, a popular figure in the area, had threatened to expose corruption in Endumeni. He was investigating allegations that a councillor had been illegally selling low-cost housing.
Bujram said she had been unaware of her husband’s investigations, as he never brought his politics home.
“When he entered our home, he became a husband and father to our three children. I do know that he had been helping a lot of people who had not received their low-cost houses despite being on the list for years,” she said.
She said Bujram had received death threats on his cellphone days before his death.
“Our daughter Risha was attacked by a man who snatched her cellphone and ripped her school uniform. We went to the police and laid a normal mugging charge. However, later in the evening Grishen received a SMS which read, ‘I have started with your daughter’,” she said.
A Nehawu member in the region, who did not want to be named, said Bujram had challenged a councillor on several occasions over allegations the councillor had been selling houses.
“A lot of people did not take kindly to his outspokenness,” he said.
Nehawu’s provincial secretary, Super Zuma, welcomed the arrest—but said he was disappointed an ANC member had been one of those arrested.
ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu said the party had not met to discuss Nukani’s arrest.