A 38-year-old Roman Catholic Church pastor was shot dead inside his church in Tzaneen after a morning prayer session on Wednesday. The incident took place at around 07:00.

The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin. He was fatally shot by an unidentified assailant inside the church in Aquer Park.

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Initial findings suggest that following a morning prayer session, the victim proceeded to the changing room. He was followed by an unknown male suspect. Tragically, the suspect shot the priest twice in the head before fleeing the scene.

Upon receiving the distress call, both the Police and Emergency Medical Services responded promptly. The victim was also swiftly transported to a nearby hospital. He was tragically pronounced dead upon arrival.

Tzaneen Roman Catholic pastor shot dead inside his church
Tzaneen Town

SHOCK AS TZANEEN PASTOR SHOT DEAD INSIDE HIS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

The South African Police Service in Limpopo has launched an extensive manhunt. “In light of this shocking incident, the Provincial Commissioner has tasked the Murder and Robbery Unit to lead the investigation and apprehend the perpetrator responsible for this deplorable crime,” said the Limpopo Police.

“A case of murder has been opened, and at this stage, the motive behind this tragic incident remains unknown.

Commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, has expressed profound shock and dismay over this heinous act. She also immediately ordered a thorough and swift investigation into the murder.

“We appeal to members of the community who may possess any information related to the incident to come forward and assist the investigation. You are urged to contact Lieutenant Colonel Richard Boshomane at 079 894 5501 or also Warrant Officer Phaladi Makola at 082 749 2233.

“Alternatively, individuals can report to their nearest police station or reach out to the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111.”

“Rest assured that all information provided will be handled with the utmost confidentiality,” said the Police. 

A hitchhiker from Tzaneen was robbed by a Polo Vivo driver at gunpoint in Magoebaskloof after he offered him a lift on Friday. The incident took place at around 11:00.

Preliminary information revealed that the victim was picked up by the suspect at the hitchhiking spot area along the R71 towards Polokwane.

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When they reached Magoebaskloof the driver turned to a secluded gravel road. He produced a firearm and robbed the victim of his belongings.

Hitchhiker robbed at gunpoint by a motorist in Magoebaskloof
Magoebaskloof road

The suspect blindfolded the victim and drove off, leaving him stranded. The victim was assisted by a passerby. Police opened a case of robbery with a firearm on arrival at the scene.

Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has once more cautioned all community members about the risks associated with hitchhiking unknown vehicles or picking up hitchhikers.

POLICE LOOKING FOR A HITCHHIKER AFTER A HITCHHIKER WAS ROBBED AT GUNPOINT IN TZANEEN

Tzaneen Police are seeking assistance from the community in tracing the motorist. Police are also actively investigating this incident and are working tirelessly to apprehend the suspect.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Jeffery Ngobeni, on 082 419 9662. Crime Stop number at 08600 10111 or also use MySAPSApp

The 7km rehabilitation at Haenertsburg cemetery road, in the Tzaneen Municipality has been completed. The project was a request that was duly incorporated into the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and allocated budgetary provisions in the previous financial year.

The six-month road paving project commenced in July 2023 until its conclusion in January 2024.

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“Residents of Haenertsburg can now navigate with ease as they accompany their loved ones to their final resting place. The completion of the R8 million rehabilitation project for the cemetery road by the Greater Tzaneen Municipality is a significant improvement for the community,” the Municipality.

Rehabilitation at Haenertsburg Cemetery Road completed
Haenertsburg cemetery road

DELIGHT AS REHABILITATION AT HAENERTSBURG CEMETERY ROAD IS DONE

“Commencing on July 17, 2023, adhering to the timeline without encountering any delays. Spanning a distance of 7 kilometres, the paving project encompasses the excavation for open drainage, clearing and grubbing, excavation of prefabricated culverts, and installation of concrete kerbing.

“The provision and erection of new road signs and markings. Rigogo Projects (pty) Ltd are the appointed contractors who were tasked with the execution of the project.”

The Tzaneen Municipality in Mopani has confirmed that the R48 million Nkambako Village paving project will be completed in May. The project involves the paving of the Risaba, Shando to Driving School Road, which spans a distance of 6.1 kilometres.

The municipality has now issued an update that only 7% of the project still needs to be done.

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“The project to pave streets in Nkambako village is nearing its long-awaited conclusion,” said the Municipality.

NKAMBAKO VILLAGE STREET PAVING PROJECT TO BE COMPLETED IN MAY

“5.5 kilometres of the road have been completed, along with two major culverts and road markings covering 5.2 kilometres.

“The remaining 600-meter portion of the road has been delayed by a leaking water pipe. The project will be completed before the end of May 2024.”

The project includes the installation of stormwater infrastructure, two lanes, each 3.1 meters wide, 500mm shoulders on each side, road signs, road furniture, culverts, and concrete-lined stormwater channels.

Update on the R48 million Nkambako paving project
Nkambako Village paving project

Furthermore, guardrails along high fills and Gabon retaining walls are being constructed to ensure the road’s durability and safety.

“The project has significantly impacted the community, providing employment opportunities to 116 labourers, including one Community Liaison Officer (CLO), one Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) representative, and one disabled person.”

Fridah Rikhotso, the CLO, expressed her gratitude.

“The job made a difference in my life. I managed to take my kids to a driving school and also provide food for my family.”

Solly Mataga, a labourer on the project also said: “The project really changes our lives. I wasn’t working before, but since the beginning of the project, I have managed to do a lot of things with the salary I’m getting here,” he said.

Ward Councillor Mfichana Shingange of Ward 05 commended the project’s progress, anticipating fewer complaints from community members regarding road accessibility.

He also highlighted the need for upgrading Musiphane to Risaba road, acknowledging its significance as one of the major main roads.

The R28 million Bulamahlo Community Hall project in the Greater Tzaneen Municipality, Limpopo is nearing its completion. The 600 m2 hall, with a seating capacity of 1000, has been under construction since September 2023. The Hall is reportedly on track to meet its 10-month completion timeline.

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“The construction site has witnessed remarkable progress. The wall construction phase is expected to conclude in the next few weeks” said the municipality.

Bulamahlo Community Hall has become a source of employment for 53 local workers. They engaged at the Expanded Public Works Programme [EPWP] daily rate.

“This not only injects funds into the community but also fosters a sense of ownership and pride in the project,” the municipality said.

Bulamahlo Community Hall in Tzaneen nears its completion
Bulamahlo Hall

EAGERLY AWAITED BULAMAHLO COMMUNITY HALL IS NEARING ITS COMPLETION

Situated in close proximity to the CN Phatudi Hospital, the community hall is set to offer cutting-edge indoor sports facilities. This includes provisions for netball, basketball, and volleyball.

Additionally, the infrastructure will feature a 200-meter paved road, palisade fencing, a boardroom, offices, a high mast light, a septic tank, change rooms, a borehole, and an ablution block.

These amenities are designed to cater to the diverse needs of the community, promoting both recreational and functional use.

Concerns over Tzaneen municipality’s R5.3 million COVID-19 danger payment to its officials two years after the pandemic subsided.

It is alleged that an amount of R5 350 700 was awarded to municipal officials for danger pay in July 2023. According to the DA in Limpopo, the payout was never reported during a financial committee meeting or brought before council for the approval or ratification.

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The party said they will be writing to the Auditor-General (AG) to request an investigation into the payment. 

“The DA was tipped off by a whistleblower. It was confirmed by the then Acting Chief Financial Officer as well as the Municipal Manager, Mr Donald Mhangwana that an amount of R5 350 700 was awarded to municipal officials for danger pay,” the party said on Tuesday. 

Tzaneen Municipality R5.3 million COVID-19 danger payment questioned
Tzaneen Town

“In response to a parliamentary question by the DA, the Minister of CoGTA, Thembi Nkadimeng, stated that no instruction was given to municipalities to award danger pay to municipal officials for their efforts during COVID-19.

“On 24 January 2024, the DA wrote to the mayor, Councillor Gerson Molapisane, to request an investigation into the matter. As well as for the immediate suspension of the Municipal Manager,” they said. 

“We further requested from which budget these payments were made. But to date have received no communication from the municipality.

“The DA reiterates the call for the immediate suspension of the Municipal Manager. Immediate disciplinary processes against all officials complicit and political will to recoup the R5.3 million.”

DA IN LIMPOPO WANT ACTION AGAINST TZANEEN MUNICIPALITY OVER THE COVID-19 DANGER PAY 

“It is an insult to all South Africans, and specifically to front-line workers who risked their lives to keep shops, petrol stations and surgeries open during the Covid pandemic that Tzaneen municipal officials were awarded with danger pay two years after the pandemic subsided; and this during a time when water and electrical infrastructure is near collapse in the municipality.”

The Party further stated that they will write to the MEC for CoGHSTA, Basikopo Makamu. To investigate what they say is blatant self-enrichment of officials. To also ascertain how many other municipalities in Limpopo similarly awarded themselves at the expense of the taxpayers.

2022 Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri on Monday donated over 70 pairs of school shoes to needy kids in her home town Tzaneen, Limpopo. Nokeri was accompanied by the Miss Glamorous Limpopo runner-up.

It’s part of the initiative through a collaboration of the Ndavi Nokeri Foundation, Fortune Naledi Foundation, and also Woman of Dominance Foundation.

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They distributed 20 pairs of school shoes to learners at Marnovlei Primary School and Loretto Primary School.  Rhulani Primary School in the same Tzaneen Municipality received an impressive 50 pairs.

Nokeri and her fellow beauty queen emphasized the importance of regular school attendance and attentive learning during their visit. She was addressing the learners at Loretto Primary.

NDAVI NOKERI DONATE SCHOOL SHOES IN HER HOMETOWN OF TZANEEN

“We are here to support you to reach your dreams,” said Nokeri.

The event is also aimed not only to provide essential items like school shoes and sanitary towels. But also to inspire and motivate the students to strive for success.

“The combined efforts of these organizations reflect a commitment to uplifting communities. Ensuring that students have the resources they need to pursue education with confidence,” said the Tzaneen Municipality. “It also demonstrated her commitment to education and community welfare.”

Former Miss SA Ndavi Nokeri donates School shoes in Tzaneen
Ndavi Nokeri donated school shoes in Tzaneen

The program is set to continue on Tuesday. The Muhlaba and Gavaza Primary Schools are scheduled to receive a visit from the beauty queens and their foundations.

Tuesday visits schedule:
-Muhlava primary school: 9am.
-Also Gabaza primary school:  11am.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

An application was made in 2023 to rename Danie Joubert Street in Tzaneen to Ndavi Nokeri Street. Nokeri is from Gavaza village in Tzaneen, Mopani District.

The application, made by Vukosi Mathale, is one of the 11 proposed name changes within the Tzaneen Municipality sent to the Limpopo Provincial Geographical Names Committee [LPGNC]. The LPGNC has already held a consultative meeting with the Tzaneen Municipality in November last year. 

Two male hitchhikers were robbed at gunpoint along the R71 next to Tzaneen Lifestyle Centre in Tzaneen, Limpopo on Sunday evening. 

It is alleged that the two men were hitchhiking to Modjadjiskloof when a white Nissan Almera with two male occupants offered them a lift.

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While on their way the vehicle took the wrong direction and drove with them to the Merensky area. The suspects took all their money using the cell phone app.

Hitchhikers robbed at Gunpoint in Tzaneen 
Tzaneen Lifestyle Centre

It is further alleged that the male passenger produced a firearm and pointed it at the victims. The suspects then robbed the victims of their cellphones and transferred money into their accounts using the Banking App. The victims were also robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash.

TZANEEN HITCHHIKERS ROBBED AT GUNPOINT 

The suspects then drove off and left the victims in the bushes. The victims were eventually assisted by the community, and police were summoned to the scene. 

Two counts of armed robbery cases have been opened. Anyone with information that can assist the police in arresting the suspects should contact Tzaneen Detectives. Crime stop number 08600 10111 or nearest police station or MySAPSApp

The identities of the deceased victims during the Magoebaskloof Bus accident carrying ANC supporters have been released. Five ANC supporters died and several others were injured when a bus they were travelling in hit another at the rear and rolled down an embankment at Magoebaskloof outside Tzaneen.

Preliminary reports indicate that three buses were following each other when the third bus hit the second one from behind, and overturned into a gorge.

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The ANC supporters were travelling from Botlokwa, Limpopo to attend the party’s 112 anniversary celebration in Mpumalanga.

Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha has also expressed his deepest condolences to the families. He visited the accident scene and some of the injured at the hospitals.

“It is with great sadness that we received the news of this devastating accident, which claimed the lives of several individuals whilst others sustained injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost their loved ones. We extend our heartfelt sympathies during this difficult time of grief and sorrow,” he said.

Identities of the Magoebaskloof ANC Bus Accident released
Premier Stan Mathabatha at the scene of the accident

The Premier also assured the affected families that the Provincial Government stands with them in their time of mourning. He said the provincial government will continue to provide all necessary support and assistance to the families. To help them cope with this tragic loss as well as those who are recovering.

MAGOEBASKLOOF BUS ACCIDENT CARRYING ANC SUPPORTERS VICTIMS IDENTIFIED  

The accident victims are four women – Nolly Makganyoga, Bertha Mapfumo, cousins Margaret and Mapula Rakubu and a man named Macdonald Setabola.

Of the 57 people who sustained injuries in the accident, 47 have been discharged from various hospitals. Limpopo Health MEC, Dr. Phophi Ramathuba also led a delegation to visit patients of the accident at some hospitals. This includes Letaba, Van Velden and Kgapane Hospitals in the Mopani District.

The Greater Tzaneen Municipality in Limpopo has warned the public against scams of job and tender opportunities. This comes after some of the victims have already been scammed by people who promise them jobs.

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, the Municipality says they have already taken disciplinary measures against some of their employees linked to such scams.

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“It is with great concern that we address the recent rise in fraudulent job and tender scams that wrongfully use the name of our esteemed municipality and its respected leaders. These deceitful actions have unfortunately resulted in substantial monetary losses for the victims involved,” said the Municipality.

Tzaneen Municipality warns public against Job and Tender scams
Tzaneen Municipality

“We take these matters seriously. The Municipality have already taken disciplinary measures against some of our employees linked to these scams. We want to reiterate that selling or buying jobs and/or tenders is criminal, and anyone who pays money in exchange for such opportunities will ultimately become a victim of fraud.

“We strongly caution the public that bribery or attempted bribery is a criminal offence and is punishable by law. The Municipality understands these are challenging times, and individuals may desperately seek employment or business opportunities. South Africans face rising unemployment and a high cost of living. These unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of these trying times,” they said.

TENDER AND JOB SCAMS HIT TZANEEN MUNICIPALITY IN THE MOPANI DISTRICT

“We encourage you to report any suspected or alleged acts of fraud and corruption to the municipality’s Anti-Fraud and Corruption Hotline at 0800 66 44 66 or the SAPS at 10111. You can also report to the National Anti-Corruption hotline 0800 701 701. The Limpopo Provincial Government Anti-Corruption hotline 0800 919 191. We also welcome any reports of abuse of state resources by our employees or councillors.

“At the Greater Tzaneen Municipality, we take a firm stance against fraud and corruption and remain resolute in our commitment to combat these challenges.”