Detained Mamelodi taxi boss 'Khekhe' accuses police of assaulting him
Mamelodi’s number one tsotsi Vusi “Khekhe” Mathibela claims to have been assaulted by police officers after he was arrested. The 33-year-old taxi boss appeared briefly in the Pretoria magistrate's court under heavy police guard. He is charged with extortion, intimidation and assault.
Mathibela, who appeared taken aback by the large contingent of media personnel, wore a black top and black-framed glasses. The young-looking man appeared to have a slight gash on the right side of his upper lip.
His matter was not without drama as his attorney Annelene van den Heever initiated proceedings by challenging the lawfulness of her client's arrest. Van den Heever read Mathibela’s affidavit in which he alleged that he was assaulted by police officers after he was detained in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, on Tuesday.
In his affidavit, Mathibela alleged that arrangements were made with his lawyer and the investigating officer for him to hand himself over to the police based on the issuing of a warrant of arrest. Mathibela further alleged that he was informed that he was not arrested in terms of the warrant of arrest nor were they furnished with the docket.
“At a later stage I was booked out by a large contingent of police officers who assaulted me,” Mathibela alleged.
While reading Mathibela’s affidavit, Van den Heever said they would deal with her client's assault at a later stage. “My client was taken to a hospital where the injuries he sustained were noted,” she said, questioning the presence of heavily armed police officers during court proceedings.
“Your worship, I would like to address you with regards to the presence of the huge contingent of armed police. Their presence infringes my client’s rights to a fair trial and presumption that he is innocent until proven guilty. When the rights of a person are infringed, the party infringing needs to provide reasons for such. In this case, the state bears an onus to present evidence to this court justifying this unreasonable and illegal intrusion into the rights of the accused to be presumed innocent,” she said.
She further argued that in the absence of a reason behind the presence of police officers during court proceedings, then they should be asked to vacate the the building. She also requested to cross-examine the person who authorised the huge police presence.
Magistrate Marley Mokoena dismissed Van den Heever’s argument and request, stating that the officers were present as a security measure for court officials. Mathibela is expected to apply for bail on Friday along with his spokesperson Elias Skhosana, and his business associate Stemer Monageng who were arrested at the weekend.
Three other suspects believed to be Mathibela's bodyguards - Zwelibanzi Ngubane, Justice Khumalo and Asante Alfred - were also arrested at the weekend and charged with possession of unlicensed firearms. They appeared in the Alexander magistrate's court on Monday and released on bail of R2,000 each. Their case was postponed to April for further investigation. The fourth suspect was released pending further investigation.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said Mathibela handed himself over to the police on Tuesday night.
“On Monday, police in Mamelodi East had obtained a warrant for the arrest of Mathibela for extortion, intimidation and assault. Vusi 'Khekhe' Mathibela is alleged to have been part of a group terrorising the community of Mamelodi over a period of time,” Naidoo said.
The arrest followed meetings that police minister Bheki Cele held with the Mamelodi community in which they raised concerns about Mathibela's reign of terror in the township.