Port Shepstone – The family of a KwaZulu-Natal socialite who was gunned down in the parking lot of a night club were looking for answers as they laid him to rest in his hometown of uMthwalume, outside of Port Shepstone yesterday.
Mluleki Mbewana was shot and killed last week outside the Rich nightclub in Umgeni Business Park.
Rich is owned by the Taboo Group SA and is frequented by some of eThekwini’s biggest money spenders. The club has been listed on The World’s Finest Clubs website along with the 11 Clubroom in Milan, the 360 in Turkey, the Ageha in Tokyo and the Artel Bessonnitsa in Moscow.
Frustration at the perceived inability of the police to act as well as widespread condemnation of what was largely viewed as a senseless murder by those close to the victim and the suspect has been the order of the day.
It was claimed that the alleged suspect, a well known figure in the city’s entertainment, fashion and night life community, was yet to be arrested.
According to witnesses, the shooting was captured on video, and there was CCTV footage which has been shared with police investigators.
Mbewana, also known as the “Drip King” because of his flashy lifestyle, was shot at point blank range in front of dozens of witnesses at about midnight on September 23 while leaving the nightclub. Mbewana was a civil engineer by profession and was a senior official at the King Cetshwayo District Municipality.
One of the eyewitnesses interviewed by Independent Media’s special investigations unit alleged that all Mbewana did was bid farewell to a group of young women who were in the company of the alleged killer.
The club’s co-owner, Kgolo Mthembu, has pleaded through a series of videos on Insagram for witnesses to provide statements that would help the police.
Mthembu said the club’s security and one eyewitness gave statements to the police. He said his head of security has also provided video footage and “anything they could find” to the investigating officers.
Mthembu said he was concerned that only one person had given a statement to the police, despite several witnesses.
“We had lots of people who saw this, including Mlu (Mbewana)’s friends. Those who were with Mlu and who know what caused the argument have not come forward.
“Apparently, the killer left with some girls. Where are those girls?” asked Mthembu.
It is understood that the alleged shooter is one of the city’s big money spenders, who boasts a fleet of super-cars, among them a Rolls Royce sedan, a Range Rover and a Mercedes V Class.
Police confirmed that the suspect has not yet been arrested.
When asked about allegations that the suspect was still free because he was feared, provincial spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele commented: “Where do they get the idea that he is feared? No police is scared of him. Police are following all leads, including taking statements, and they are getting there (to the arrest).”
She said investigations were currently under way and would not comment any further.
One of the videos taken during the shooting shows the big, dark and bearded suspect walking with two men in an open parking area full of well-dressed young people and flashy cars.
An eyewitness said as Mbewana was walking down the stairs exiting the club, he came across a group of scantily clad women with heavy make-up and shared a joke with them.
“This is what annoyed the fat guy who started causing a scene and grabbed a gun from what looked like one of his bodyguards. He fired several shots while walking towards the victim and shouting expletives. When he caught up to Mbewana, he fired one shot in the chest. The suspect was then dragged away and got into a car which drove away. The same ladies who had greeted him by the steps of the club, drove away with the suspect,” said the witness.
According to the source, after the shooting, DJ Junior De Rocka took Mbewana to St Augustines Hospital where he died on arrival.
Junior De Rocka expressed shock at the murder.
“There were several eyewitnesses present as the incident occurred. Everyone knows who the murderer is as it’s no secret. The shocking part is that there hasn’t been any arrest,” said the DJ.
Close family friend Namelani Mahlangu, whose younger sister Mbalenhle Mahlangu was in a relationship with Mbewana said the incident was devastating.
“ His life was snapped out of him through a criminal act. Today, we are just concentrating on laying him to rest. Everything else, including where we are with the case, will be attended to at a later stage,” he said.