Bhamjee’s bodyguards in court over N3 shooting

2013-11-19 00:00

TWO of uMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee’s bodyguards appeared briefly in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges relating to shots being fired at a motorist on the N3 last month.

The state argues that Wynand Rautenbach’s car was shot at after he allegedly failed to give way to the mayoral entourage.

It says that a passenger in a vehicle with a blue light fired two shots at Rautenbach’s car.

The states argues that when Rautenbach stopped his car, the driver of the blue light vehicle also stopped and alighted, and fired two shots at the car.

Attorney Sphiwe Mncwango, representing the bodyguards — Thulasizwe Dennis Mbanjwa (39) and Sthembiso Mokoena (40) — says his clients “had a right to shoot; there’s no other story”.

Speaking after their brief appearance yesterday, when the matter was postponed to next month for further investigation, he said his clients were comfortable and not stressed by the case.

Rautenbach, however, said the case is taking a toll on his relationship with his fiancée, whom he plans to marry next month.

He said his fiancée had turned down a job in Durban after a successful interview, because she fears for her life and has decided to stay in their home town of Newcastle.

Rautenbach also can’t move back to Newcastle because his salary will drop by about R5 000 a month if he does — which he cannot afford.

He also has to drive 400 kilometres from Durban to Newcastle every week to see his fiancée.

“It’s taking a big strain on our relationship,” he said.

The Witness reported that one of the bodyguards, Mbanjwa, was previously convicted and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for his role in the 1999 assassination of Sifiso Nkabinde, the Richmond warlord and former ANC KZN secretary-general.

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