Somizi fights to stay outof jail

Nkosana Lekjotjolo

Nkosana Lekjotjolo

Embattled and flamboyant choreographer Somizi Mhlongo is fighting to stay out of prison.

Last week Mhlongo was found guilty of fondling fondling Celani Njapha's private parts in his (Mhlongo's) Lonehill home. He was sentenced to four months or a fine of R6 000.

Mhlongo, 34, is taking his case to the Johannesburg high court to try to reverse Randburg magistrate Hombakazi Thwele's guilty verdict.

Mhlongo had offered Njapha, 28, a lift last November and the two ended up at Mhlongo's house, where Njapha said he was indecently assaulted.

Though the date has not yet been set for the high court hearing, Mhlongo's lawyer, Nyiko Khupane, told Sowetan yesterday they were hoping it would be in November.

He said he would fight tooth and nail to ensure that Mhlongo's conviction is quashed.

"I never lose cases," Khupane said. "My reputation is at stake here. We want to get the case over and done with."

Thwele granted Mhlongo leave to appeal on Friday in the Randburg magistrate's court after listening to his lawyer's submissions.

Khupane blasted Thwele's judgment.

"I submit that the learned magistrate failed to recognise the blatant lies and contradictions in the complainant's testimony as another court would have," Khupane said.

Prosecutor Teresa de Kamper had previously argued that Mhlongo misused his celebrity status to indecently assault Njapha.