Blue light guards: charge changed

2013-12-13 00:00

THE charge of attempted murder against uMgungundlovu District Mayor’s bodyguards Thulasizwe Dennis Mbanjwa (39) and Sthembiso Mokoena (40) was changed to pointing a firearm and discharging a firearm in public at Pinetown Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Wynand Rautenbach was driving on the N3 near the Mariannhill toll plaza in October when Mbanjwa and Mokoena allegedly fired shots at his car.

The two bodyguards maintain Rautenbach failed to give way to Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee’s entourage and that they had the right to shoot.

National Prosecuting Authority KZN spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara told The Witness that the state could not proceed on the attempted murder charge due to insufficient evidence.

Rautenbach, who is getting married next weekend, told The Witness that the two bodyguards were “getting away with murder”.

“It is basically a slap on the wrist,” he said, adding that he was not “chuffed” with the fact the two men were no longer facing attempted murder charge.

“Isn’t this a licence to shoot at anybody? Let’s say someone goes and shoots at a police officer but misses him … Is that person going to be charged with discharging a firearm in public or attempted murder?” he asked.

“The fact is, they shot at a person in a public space. What if they had killed me?” he added.

Yesterday, Rautenbach moved back to his hometown Newcastle because his fiancée was afraid to move to Durban with him following the incident.

Even though he was reluctant at first and was concerned about taking a cut in salary, he said: “I always put family first.”

The bodyguards’ attorney Sphiwe Mncwango said the case must be withdrawn and he was not pleased that his clients were now facing charges of pointing and discharging a firearm in public. “This is an indication that the state doesn’t have a strong case and are making matters worse,” he told The Witness.

Mncwango maintains that his client had to shoot because they thought Bhamjee’s life was in danger.

“Therefore, they had to discharge the firearm,” Mncwango argued.

The court case has been postponed to December 18 and Rautenbach said he will anxiously wait to see what happens then.

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