Another night in jail for accused mayor

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The mayor of Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Milton Morema, who is among three people facing murder charges, spent yet another night behind bars after his bail application was postponed to today. .

Morema, his uncle Erasmus Makhubele and Casteel municipal regional manager Lakios Mosoma appeared briefly in a packed Bushbuckridge magistrate's court yesterday.

The court only started minutes before 3pm and the prosecutor said he had received a directive from a senior prosecutor at Lulekani to postpone the case for a day.

The prosecutor, who was identified only as Sibanda, also asked to be excused from being part of the hearing, but did not give reasons.

Mpho Mashiloane, the lawyer for the three, tried unsuccessfully to oppose the postponement, saying that would result in "delaying tactics for nothing".

"The police and certain officials in this court have vested interests in the matter.

"I've seen police officials entering offices of senior magistrates and obviously having some influence over this case.

"I want the bail application to start right now even though it is after 3pm," argued Mashiloane in court.

Magistrate George Risimati adjourned the hearing a few minutes while he consulted on whether to postpone the matter.

The adjournment gave Mpumalanga MEC for public works Madala Masuku a chance to greet Morema in the dock.

Morema waved and smiled at supporters in court.

The court failed to understand why the accused were first made to appear in the Nelspruit magistrate's court when they were arrested in Acornhoek.

"Bushbuckridge and Acornhoek magistrate's courts are not second grade courts," said magistrate Risimati.

The three are accused of killing a teacher, Motion Mashile, by hiring a hitman for R17000 to eliminate her.

The alleged hitman, Jeffrey Mathebula, 24, was also killed in 2003.

'The police and certain officials in this court have vested interests.'