Thuso scores at court

CONTROVERSIAL COUPLE: Thuso Motaung and his wife Mmamontha. © Sowetan.
CONTROVERSIAL COUPLE: Thuso Motaung and his wife Mmamontha. © Sowetan.

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Suspended top Lesedi FM presenter Thuso Motaung scored a victory before his upcoming fraud trial when the court ruled that 15 vehicles seized from him be returned to their rightful owner.

The Johannesburg high court yesterday ruled that eight minibus taxis, two buses, four private cars and a motorcycle be returned to businessman Eddie Sengoza.

The vehicles were seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit when they attached Motaung's assets across the country.

The unit seized 29 vehicles, mostly minibus taxis, and 15 houses. And also froze Motaung's bank accounts.

This was after Motaung, his wife Mmamotha, and their business associate Joshua Ramme had been charged with defrauding the SABC.

The trio are alleged to have defrauded the broadcaster of R32million in airtime by promoting a product.

Sengoza's lawyers challenged the seizure of his property and after the national director of public prosecutions had failed to prove they were not his, an agreement was reached that the vehicles were to be conditionally released to their owner.

The conditions attached to the release specified that the curator bonis - an officer appointed by the court to manage the financial affairs of the party concerned - was to have access to the vehicles, all the records of business activities and maintenance.

Motaung refused to comment, but his lawyer Zola Majavu said: "We welcome the decision to the extent that it affects my client."

Sengoza said he was relieved to have his vehicles back so that he can operate his business.

"I employ 16 drivers and you can imagine how many families had been affected.

"They [the unit] even took my private cars and when I asked them 'why are you taking my cars since you are saying it's his [Motaung's] taxi business' I was simply told that it's an order," Sengoza said.

He said the seizure of his vehicles had humiliated him.

"[And] my kids were even being teased at school by other pupils. Even at home people were laughing saying 'those were Thuso's cars and not yours'."

He said he had no idea why he was linked to Thuso.

"That I went to his show. That was my only sin," he said.

Sengoza will be fetching his cars today to drive them to Bloemfontein.

The Motaungs and their business partner are to appear at the Johannesburg commercial crimes court on April 12.