magesh faces JAIL

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Former TKZee member Tokollo "Magesh" Tshabalala will leave today for Botswana with the cloud of life imprisonment hanging over his head.

He will finally face the music in a Botswana court tomorrow when his trial starts.

When the trial resumes in Gaborone,Tshabalala will face two charges of causing death by dangerous driving - the equivalent of culpable homicide in South Africa - for the 2001 accident in which two people died.

Magesh, as he is popularly known to his fans, was allegedly driving a friend's BMW when he collided head-on with Botswana businesswoman Maria Josephine Monyatsi, who died.

Tumelo Desmond Monaisa also died later.

For some years Tshabalala has evaded going to Botswana, his main fear being that he could be given the death sentence.

He only agreed to go back in 2005 after his lawyer, Billy Gundelfinger, bargained with the Botswana government that Tshabalala would only go back there to stand trial if they assured him he would not be sentenced to death.

This was after the Botswana government had tried to get South Africa to extradite him.

Gundelfinger said Tshabalala, who is out on warning, would fight the case. He said they would stick to the not guilty plea during the three-day trial.

Gundelfinger said the charges that Tshabalala was facing did not warrant the death penalty.

"They do, however, carry a life imprisonment sentence," he said.

He could not say which way chief magistrate Lot Moroka, who will preside over the case, would sway in his sentencing, if Tshabalala was convicted.

"It will depend on the witnesses and how they testify."

Tshabalala's father, Screamer Tshabalala, said family members would accompany Tokollo to Botswana for the trial.

Screamer Tshabalala said he accepted that his son was involved in the freak accident but still hoped for a positive outcome.

"We have to support him through and through and we are hoping for the best."

Tokollo pleaded not guilty during his last appearance in October last year. He had evaded the wrath of the Botswana justice system for six years when he finally turned himself in to the authorities.

Fifteen witnesses are expected to testify during the trial.