16-year-old named as 7th suspect in murder of Tongaat teen Andile 'Bobo' Mbuthu
A 16-year-old male has been identified as the seventh suspect in the murder and kidnapping of Tongaat teen Andile “Bobo” Mbuthu.
At the start of the matter in the Verulam magistrate's court on Tuesday, magistrate Rajesh Parshotam informed the court that the teen, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, had made his first appearance the day after the six other accused appeared last week.
“He was remanded to a place of safety,” he said.
Mlungisi Thabethe, 28, Andile Nhleko, 27, Mncedisi Mzobe, 27, Siyanda Msweli, 26, Lindani Ndlovu, 22, and Malusi Mthembu 27 appeared via audio video remand from Westville prison. The matter was postponed to try to remedy the challenges of dealing with six suspects under AVR.
As a result of the national lockdown, prisoners are not being transported to court.
“There are definitely challenges with dealing with matters under lockdown. We are about 50 days in and there hasn't been a single person brought to court. If they were brought in they would need to be isolated for 14 days which would be an issue given the overcrowding at Westville prison,” said Parshotam.
Parshotam said that he would once again try to advocate for the men to be brought to court. All seven accused face charges of kidnapping and murder.
A decomposed body, believed to be Mbuthu’s, was discovered in a river near his home in Hambanathi, in Tongaat, north of Durban, two weeks ago. Mbuthu went missing after he was assaulted after allegedly stealing alcohol from a local tavern. After his disappearance, a video of a badly beaten Mbuthu was widely shared on social media.
In a fit of rage community members burnt down the tavern.
State prosecutor advocate Krishen Shah also brought up the issue of a conflict of interest that might occur at a later stage because accused number one, Thabethe, employs the other five accused and they are all represented by one person. Both lawyers agreed to deal with the issue at a later stage.
Their lawyer, Chris Gounden, also told the court that members of Mbuthu’s family had taken videos of him, which Parshotam addressed as a safety concern and intimidation saying those found guilty of the act would be excluded from court proceedings in the future.
The matter was provisionally postponed to May 26 while the minor is set to appear at a later stage.