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By unknown | May 09, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dudu Busani and Sibongile Mashaba

Dudu Busani and Sibongile Mashaba

It could be a long time before Kabelo Thibedi, the Soweto youth who held a Home Affairs official hostage, knows whether his appeal against conviction and sentence is successful.

His case was sent back to the magistrates' court for lawyers to obtain confirmation of conviction .

Flanked by his mother and members of the Young Communist League (YCL), Thibedi, 23, appeared in the Johannesburg high court yesterday.

His lawyer, Sandile Lokwe, asked for the matter to be postponed to an unknown date.

"We have to postpone this matter because the magistrate has not confirmed the conviction," Lokwe said.

"He has only confirmed the sentence. Once we have all that in place, the appeal trial can begin."

Thibedi was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to five years imprisonment in 2006. Thibedi had been waiting for his ID for two years and said he had been sent from pillar to post every time he went to collect it.

In November 2005 Thibedi walked into the Home Affairs offices in Market Street and went straight to supervisor Lanelle Small's office.

He locked her inside, held her hostage with a toy gun and demanded that he be issued with his identity document.

The police were later alerted of the hostage drama by a YFM presenter who became the mediator between Thibedi and the police.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Thibedi said he regrets what he did and does not see himself as a hero, but he felt the sentence imposed on him was too harsh.

"I know I was wrong to hold that lady hostage."

Though he seems to have moved on with his life and has been employed as a campaigning officer by the YCL, Thibedi said the uncertainty about his future was stressful.

YCL spokesman Castro Ngobese said: "Our organisation's support for Thibedi is informed by our struggle to highlight the plight and frustrations faced daily by our people as a result of the blunders of Home Affairs."


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