David Ngwenya, 43, the man who has been arrested in connection with the murder of Eskom employee, Thembisile Yende, may have been a hired hitman.

This emerged following his appearance in the Springs Magistrate’s Court yesterday when he was denied bail and the case was postponed to next Monday.

Ngwenya was arrested last Thursday in Carletonville, west of Johannesburg.

Police spokesperson Johannes Ramphora could not confirm that the accused was an Eskom employee as previously reported.

“We suspect that the guy might be a hitman who was hired, but we are not sure about that as investigations are ongoing and we are still looking for other people involved in the murder,” Ramphora said.

It’s been alleged that Yende was due to testify against a senior Eskom official on the day she went missing.

Yende was an employee at Eskom, where she last reported for duty on May 17. She was found dead 10 days after her disappearance in a storeroom at an Eskom substation. Post-mortem results showed that Yende had sustained head injuries and bruises on her neck before she died.

“Though Thembi kept complaining about her safety it had to boil down to her dying for Eskom to open their eyes,” family spokesperson Mboneni Yende said.

Meanwhile, the five men arrested in connection with the murder and house robbery of a Northcliff family appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The case of Lesley Mokgadi‚ 35‚ Robert Maluleke‚ 28‚ Japan Malatjie‚ 28‚ Lechani Mlambo‚ 28 and Lucky Ligege‚ 36‚ was postponed to allow the first three accused to get legal representatives and for Mlambo and Ligege’s formal bail application.

They face murder‚ kidnapping‚ theft and house robbery charges after the charred bodies of Gregory Naidoo, 57, his wife Melanie, 51 and their 23-year old daughter Rakiel Naidoo were found bound, gagged and burnt beyond recognition near an upmarket housing estate in Centurion on June 5.

In the Protea Magistrate’s Court in Soweto, the murder case against Alek Magaula MaMothame, 43 and Sandile Nkosi, 25, charged with the murder of friends Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe was postponed to Thursday.

The two have been charged with murder, robbery and kidnapping of Phungula and Qwabe.

Qwabe’s body was discovered last month near the Naledi High School. She had been shot.

The body of her friend Phungula was later found in Tladi Township. She had also been shot in the upper body. The police suspect that she had been raped. Mamothame and Nkosi, both taxi drivers, have pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.