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Bozwana case delayed yet again

An annoyed judge Papi Mosopa highlighted that he had suggested that the defence lawyers should consult with their clients in the court’s holding cells on Monday to ensure that they begin with the court proceedings Tuesday

Tankiso Makhetha Investigative reporter
Vusi ‘Khekhe’ Mathibela, a notorius Mamelodi taxi boss.
Vusi ‘Khekhe’ Mathibela, a notorius Mamelodi taxi boss.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

An angry high court judge in Pretoria on Tuesday blasted the defence in the trial of four men accused of killing North West businessman Wandile Bozwana for delaying tactics.

An annoyed judge Papi Mosopa highlighted that he had suggested that the defence lawyers should consult with their clients in the court’s holding cells on Monday to ensure that they begin with the court proceedings Tuesday.

This after Adv Annelene van den Heerver told the court that they were denied access into the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre, where Sipho Patrick Hudla, Matamela Robert Mutapa, Vusi Reginald “Khekhe” Mathibela and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo — who are charged with the murder of Bozwana and attempted murder of his business partner Mpho Baloyi — are being held.

However, Van den Heerver had insisted that arrangements had been made with the correctional facility.

“When we arrived at the correctional facility, we were refused entry and refused access to our clients. Despite making arrangements, we were informed that we would not be able to consult with our clients,” Van den Heerver told the court.

Mosopa said: “We cannot be dealing with such delays. The state has closed its case and we were meant to commence with the defence’s case on Tuesday [Monday]”.

“This is the last time we’re postponing this matter. I expect us to commence with it when I call back on the roll tomorrow [Wednesday]. Please consult with your clients in the holding cells in order for us to make movement with this matter”.

On Monday, the defence requested for the matter to be postponed because they could not see their clients during the four-month adjournment period.

Van den Heerver told the court that even though she had managed to see her clients briefly, she still experienced difficulty getting access to them while at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre.

She told the court that Mathibela and his fourth co-accused, Khumalo, indicated that they were ready to proceed.

Adv Jennifer Cronje, for the state, said she was ready to proceed with the matter but would have no objection or prejudice for the request for the matter to be stood down as they had been notified on Friday already of the intent.

In May, a fifth accused in the matter, Senzo Mncube, was arrested after being on the run since the 2017 murder of Bozwana. Mncube has opted to have his trial separated from his co-accused and the trial is expected to begin in March next year.

Concurrent to Mncube’s arrest in May, his four co-accused failed in their bid to have their charges dismissed. After the state closed its case in the trial, which started in 2018, the defence for the accused brought a section 174 application, arguing that the matter be discharged as the state had presented no prima facie evidence proving that the accused had committed the crimes they were charged with.

However, Mosopa ultimately ruled that the evidence presented by the state had established a prima facie case against the accused.

“This in my view is evidence upon which a reasonable man acting carefully may convict, and further, there is a possibility that accused three [Mathibela] can be implicated by his co-accused in their case or cases and thus supplements the state's case,” Mosopa said.

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