Mpumalanga taxi bosses guilty of murder

2013-04-05 21:11

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Mbombela - Three taxi bosses accused of masterminding taxi violence in Gauteng and Mpumalanga were found guilty in the Nelspruit Circuit Court on Friday.

A Sapa correspondent reported Judge Elias Matojane as saying the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

It convinced the court that State witnesses Kenneth Nkosi and Michael Grey were hired to kill taxi owners and drivers from the SA Local and Long Distance Taxi Association (Salldta) during a taxi war in the 1990s.

The two testified against Samuel "Vuyo" Manganye, Calvin Lubisi, and Mfanufikile "Mamelodi" Mbonani.

The three had pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, as well as pointing a firearm.

Manganye was the president of the Federated Local and Long Distance Taxi Association (Felldta).

Lubisi and Mbonani managed the Successful United Taxi Association (Suta) that was affiliated to Felldta, and operated between Mbombela, Hazyview, and Bushbuckridge.

"Nkosi's testimony has proved beyond doubt he was well acquainted with the three accused, had inside knowledge of Felldta and Suta business affairs, and knew their staff members, both in their Pretoria and Marite offices," said Matojane.

"He also took the investigating officers to point out the crime scenes and all the associations' office buildings, in Pretoria and Marite, place where the Cressida [car overturned], and where the deceased were kidnapped and murdered."

He said he was impressed with the way Nkosi presented evidence against Manganye.

"If he really wanted to implicate Manganye, he could have mentioned his involvement in many incidences. Nkosi also stated he was involved when Obed Matsebula, a taxi driver, was shot and wounded at Marite on 1 June 1997," the judge said.

"The prosecution has proved that the accused, Manganye and Lubisi, agreed to form a hit squad, gave them firearms without having proper licences to go and kill Salldta taxi owners and drivers."

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