Ex-Mbombela municipal manager in court

2013-04-17 20:08

Nelspruit - The murder trial of former Mbombela municipal manager, who allegedly burnt a man to death, was postponed in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Wednesday.

A warrant of arrest was issued against Bruno Vilane, 47, his son and two other co-accused after they failed to appear at the start of the trial.

Vilane arrived with his son Nhlanhla Bruno-Junior Vilane, 23, Andile Lawrence Masuku, 20, and Zwelithini Welcome Tsela, 22, after the court was already adjourned.

Magistrate Andre Geldenhuys stressed that the murder trial was expected to start on Wednesday and the four needed to give valid reasons for their absence.

"The warrant will be withheld until the suspects bring to the court valid reasons why they could not avail themselves before court. This matter was set for trial today," he said.

Coert Jordaan, for Vilane, told the court he made contact with his client who said he was still at his residential place in Barberton.

"My instruction is that Mr Vilane, his son and the other two accused said according to their knowledge, they were expected to appear in court on 19 April, on Friday," Jordaan told the court.

"Mr Vilane insisted he would only be present in court on Friday at 09:00. I'm also not happy with the fact that he and the others are not here."

Among the people in court were one of the accused, Makhosini Emmanuel Mahlangu, 23, Jordaan, and seven State witnesses.

Jordaan asked the court to postpone the trial to another date, saying he was not available on Thursday.

"I'm due for other cases in the High Court in Middelburg and also in Nelspruit. I will not be ready for this matter until October," he said.

Geldenhuys postponed the case until 16 October for trial.

Vilane, his son and the other two suspects arrived in the court building long after the matter had been postponed.

The five are accused of assaulting and setting alight suspected thief Benjamin Ncongwane, 35, on December 25, 2009, in Alkmaar Plot near Barberton.

Ncongwane, who suffered extensive burns, was taken to hospital, where he gave the names of his attackers to the hospital personnel before he succumbed to his injuries.

Outside the court on Wednesday, the State witnesses and the investigating officer in the case argued and expressed anger in front of journalists.

"This is the sixth time the matter is postponed. We are not happy as we came from far away and ready for trial, only to be told the matter is postponed," said one State witness who refused to named.

"What surprises us is that all the State witnesses, including the investigating officer and defence, knew about today's date."

Read more on:    mbombela

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