Banyana murder suspect off the hook

Dan Fuphe

Dan Fuphe

One of the five men accused of raping and killing Banyana Banyana soccer player Eudy Simelane has had all the charges against him withdrawn after he turned state witness yesterday.

Tshepo Lucky Pitsha, 24, had the charges of murder, rape and robbery withdrawn by magistrate Duke Mokoma in the Springs magistrate's court.

State prosecutor Eddie Maloba told the court that Pitsha was a free man after the office of the director of public prosecutions had decided to turn him into a witness.

Pitsha had made a sworn statement in which he implicated his four co-accused.

The case has been postponed for trial in the Delmas circuit court from February 11 to 13 .

Reacting to Pitsha's release his lawyer, Henk Hoffman, told Sowetan that the outcome was not surprising.

Pitsha's co-accused Khumbulani Magagula, 22, Johannes Mahlangu, 18, Themba Mvubu, 24, and Thabo Mphiti, 22 will be held in custody after abandoning their bail applications on July 14.

Simelane was brutally gang-raped and murdered on April 27 and her body, with multiple stab wounds, was found by a passer-by near the KwaThema hostel.