News24

Alleged Lesotho assassins in court

2010-07-12 15:16

Bloemfontein - Seven men sought in Lesotho for an alleged assassination attempt of the country's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili in April 2009, appeared in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Monday.

The court was to sit on an extradition application received from Lesotho, but the matter was again delayed because the men were unhappy with their legal representative.

They also wanted the Mozambique embassy to get involved in the matter.

After deliberation with the men, Magistrate M Daya instructed their attorney, of the Legal Aid Board, to be accompanied by a senior partner who had also worked on the matter.

This arrangement seemed to satisfy the men.

The matter was then postponed to Tuesday.

Earlier, the State submitted that the men had been using the same tactics of "being unhappy with their attorney" since May 2009 to delay the application.

Daya told the men the court could not afford another delay and that three days had been set down for hearing the application.

The matter against Alberto Makwakwa, 40, Angelo Mondlani, 38, Mangani Malenge, 44, Abel Nhatsane, 45, George Thomas, 44, Fransico Mandlani, 38, and Rocky Mazinga, 38, relates to gunmen who opened fire on and stormed Mosisili's residence in Lesotho's capital, Maseru, on April 22 2009.

Shortly after the incident Lesotho Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing described the attackers as South African and Mozambican mercenaries who had been contracted to stage a coup.

He also indicated that four attackers were killed in the incident.

The men who appeared in the Bloemfontein court were arrested in the Free State after the attack.

Lesotho issued warrants of arrest against all of them and asked for them to be extradited.

Another man, Jessie Ramatakane, 60, had previously appeared in the Bethlehem Magistrate's Court in connection with the same matter.

Ramatakane, a businessman from Gauteng, was arrested in the Free State and it was expected that his extradition application would be heard separately in Bethlehem.

It was reported that in Lesotho, charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, theft and the illegal possession of firearms were investigated against the men.

Two men were arrested at the time of the incident in Lesotho and their trial was expected to start in October.