‘Lazarus’ trial for PMB

2012-08-17 00:00

MORE charges were levelled against “Lazarus” Sibusiso John Gcabashe when he appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court yesterday. He was sporting new dreadlocks, in the style of the late Maskandi artist he is accused of impersonating.

Gcabashe, of Magqongqo, is charged with three counts of theft allegedly committed in Durban, kidnapping, assault and rape allegedly committed at Ixopo, fraud and an attempted escape from custody at Nquthu. The director of public prosecutions has combined all charges on one charge sheet and Gcabashe will now stand trial in Pietermaritzburg.

He faces three counts of theft from Umlazi, near U Section. He is alleged to have stolen R10 000 in cash, jewellery, photos and a cellphone from Nokwanda Nkasayiya in June 2010. In the same month he allegedly stole R200 and a cellphone from Buyisile Mthimkhulu and a cellphone from Ntombifuthi Manxusa.

In November 2011, he allegedly kidnapped, assaulted and raped a teenager at Ixopo.

At the beginning of February this year, he allegedly pretended to be the late Maskandi musician Kwakhe Khulekani Khumalo, also known as Mgqumeni.

State advocate Irene Neyt told the court that they have set the trial down for October 16 to 18, continuing from December 3 to 5.

Gcabashe’s lawyer, John Botha, asked the court to order that he be kept at Dundee or Vryheid to be near Khumalo’s family.

The state opposed this, saying Gcabashe was not safe there as he was once assaulted by another accused and it was safer for him to be held at Amanzimtoti.

Despite being shackled, Gcabashe appeared to enjoy being in the limelight during his hearing, posing for photographs, smiling and greeting everyone who recognised him.

Scores of people from all over the country travelled to Nquthu in Esigqumeni in February when news spread that Mgqumeni had risen from the dead. Mgqumeni’s uncle, Dalincebo Khumalo, was in court yesterday, accompanied by a group of women from the Shembe church.

Khumalo said Gcabashe was a relative. “We want him to be kept in Dundee or Vryheid where we can visit him; he is far away from us now.” The Khumalos and Gcabashe’s lawyer were later given an opportunity to speak to him in the court cells.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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