Six men arrested for KZN teen's brutal death claim police brutality

Mlungisi Thabathe, 28, Andile Nhleko, 27, Mncedisi Mzobe, 27, Siyanda Msweli, 26, Lindani Ndlovu, 22, and Malusi Mthembu, 27, are charged with the murder and kidnapping of Andile Mbuthu.
Mlungisi Thabathe, 28, Andile Nhleko, 27, Mncedisi Mzobe, 27, Siyanda Msweli, 26, Lindani Ndlovu, 22, and Malusi Mthembu, 27, are charged with the murder and kidnapping of Andile Mbuthu.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The six men charged with the murder and kidnapping of 16-year-old KwaZulu-Natal teen Andile Bobo Mbuthu say they were assaulted and made to sign blank pages while in police custody.

Mlungisi Thabathe, 28, Andile Nhleko, 27, Mncedisi Mzobe, 27, Siyanda Msweli, 26, Lindani Ndlovu, 22, and Malusi Mthembu 27, were charged with the murder and kidnapping of Mbuthu. The teen disappeared after he was assaulted for allegedly stealing alcohol from a tavern in Hambanathi in Tongaat, north of Durban.

The tavern was set on fire on Friday evening after human remains, believed to be those of Mbuthu were discovered in a river a few kilometres for Hambanathi.

On Tuesday, a video was widely circulated on social media showing what is believed to be Mbuthu's battered and bloodied body lying near a pool of water and blood.

The men's lawyer Chris Gounden told the court that his clients complained that they were assaulted.

Initially seven suspect had been arrested for the murder, however charges were provisionally withdrawn against the seventh suspect, who is a minor.

“They said that they were tubed and forced to sign blank papers and papers with content they did not know of,” said Gounden. Tubing is a controversial method of suffocation.

Gounden also requested that the men be kept at a local police station because if they were sent to Westville Prison they would need to appear via audio video remand (using technology, from prison). This, he said, would prejudice the accused, as the prison was not transporting prisoners during lockdown.

The magistrate ruled that arrangements needed to be made with Westville Prison to bring the prisoners on their next appearance on May 19.