New lawyers cause delay

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Thato Radebe's murder case was postponed in the Johannesburg high court yesterday to allow three newly-appointed counsels to consult with the three youths standing trial in the case.

The trial of Stanley Masemola, 20, Mandla Mtshali, 21, and Thabiso Zweli Ganta, 21, who allegedly raped and murdered the 14-year-old Grade 8 pupil on February 3 last year, is expected to resume today.

The trio's lawyer, Chris Pillay, withdrew from the case last week.

Sowetan has learnt that two of the accused want to plead guilty to the charges in the hope that they would get lenient sentences, but the other one insists he is innocent despite being linked to the murder.

Last week, Themba Mndaweni, 18, facing similar charges, entered into an agreement with the state and pleaded guilty to the charges.

He was sentenced to an effective 15 years in jail and has agreed to become a state witness in the case against the three other accused.

In his confession, Mndaweni said he had unlawfully and intentionally killed Thato. The girl's body was discovered by passersby.