'Give Khekhe bail to rescue family taxi business'

Notorious businessman Vusi 'Khekhe' Mathibela faces charges of extortion, fraud and assault.
Notorious businessman Vusi 'Khekhe' Mathibela faces charges of extortion, fraud and assault.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The uncle of feared Mamelodi taxi boss Vusi Mathibela has pleaded with the courts to grant his nephew bail, saying the family's taxi empire is being run to the ground due to his incarceration.

Mathibela appeared in the Pretoria magistrate's court yesterday where he applied for bail in his extortion case.

His uncle, Ephraim Sipho Mathibela, stated that his nephew's health was also affected by his continued incarceration.

In an affidavit that was read into the record by Mathibela's legal representative, Advocate Annelene van den Heever, Ephraim claimed that Mathibela had a unique set of skills that allowed him to run the family's taxi business.

In the affidavit, Ephraim claimed that eight of their large fleet of taxis were at risk of being repossessed as their business had taken a knock in profits since his nephew's arrest in March.

He said he could not run the taxi business as he was running a bottle store which left him with no time.

"Our business revenue is down by 35% and continues to plummet since Vusi's incarceration. There are eight taxis that are at the risk of being repossessed because the business is not making enough profit," Ephraim said.

He further added that their problems were compounded by the ill-discipline of taxi drivers who have also resorted to disrespecting his niece, who had taken over the day-to-day running of the taxi empire.

"Because she is young and is a female, the drivers do not respect her," he said.

He said at least 15 taxi drivers and their families were affected by Mathibela's continued incarceration

Mathibela, along with co-accused Stemmer Monageng and Elias Skhosana, face charges of assault, extortion and intimidation following allegations that they ran an extortion ring in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria.

Meanwhile, Monageng and Skhosana had their bail conditions relaxed yesterday after claiming that they hampered their businesses and that they could not see their families who reside in Mamelodi.

The pair is currently out on R25,000 bail each.

Magistrate Desiree Stigling ruled that the pair was not allowed be within a 2.5km radius of Denneboom taxi rank and that they were not to be in contact with witnesses in that matter.

Their initial bail conditions prevented the pair from entering Mamelodi township. Their matter was postponed to July 18 for further investigations.

Mathibela's bail hearing continues today while he is also expected to appear in the North Gauteng High Court in connection with the murder of North West business mogul Wandile Bozwana, in which he's one of the accused.

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