Themane murder: Charges dropped against one suspect, two get bail

2019-03-11 12:41
Thoriso Themane. (Image via Twitter)

Thoriso Themane. (Image via Twitter)

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The charges against one of the men arrested in connection with the murder of Thoriso Themane have been dropped in the Polokwane Magistrates Court on Monday.

Themane, who played drums in a music band, was travelling from a rehearsal session when he was confronted by a group of pupils who then beat and kicked him.

His attack was caught on camera and the video was widely spread on social media, leading to an outcry and calls for his attackers to be brought to book.

No reasons were given in court for the State's decision to withdraw the charges against Russia Chabangu, 36.

However, Chuene Maleka and Alfred Mothapo, who appeared alongside Chanbangu, had their bail applications heard by Magistrate Maharaj Prakash.

Their bail, which was unopposed, was later fixed at R1000 each.

Their defence lawyer John Mokgotho argued that the accused were not a flight risk and had demonstrated the willingness to stand trial.

Mokgotho also read affidavits by the two accused into the court records showing the circumstances that led to the death of Themane.

Investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Ngwako Raophala gave evidence which showed that the accused had cooperated with the police from the beginning of the investigations.

It was also shown that Mothapo holds a managerial position in the Polokwane municipality and Maleka was to start work in the same municipality on March 1, 2019. They are both married with children.

In the affidavit, Mothapo said he was with Maleka visiting Chabangu when he received a distress call from his wife about an alleged intruder at his home on 23 February 2019.

On arrival at home, the "intruder" had already left but a young girl pointed the direction he had taken. They cornered him at a local park.

"The purpose was to find out why he was trying to break-in into the premises. He tried to run away but he hit a pole and fell," Mothapo said.

At that time, a number of young people had arrived and hovering around, demanding a cellphone which they claimed he took it away from them.

He requested to be taken home but instead called the police. The police did not arrive and the youth took him away.

The following day, the police with two young girls arrived at his home: "To my surprise, the girl who pointed me out at the identity parade is the same girl who came with the police at my house. "Rumour has it that the same girl was schooled by the police on the [identity] parade issue," Mothapo said.

However, this was denied Raophala when asked about the matter by state prosecutor. Maleka also deposed an almost identical affidavit about the events of that day.

He said in the affidavit: "We caught the man in the park. The man appeared harmless and intoxicated. At that time, some youth arrived, saying he is the man who stole a cellphone [from them]. The number of youth increased and they left with him towards Marshall Street."

He said he then received a call on 3 March 2019 from police to avail himself at the station for a statement: “When I arrived the police officers responsible were not there and told to return the following day. When I arrived the following day, I was told I’m under arrest."

A total of 10 suspects, including three adults, were arrested for Themane's murder before Monday's court appearance.

Read more on:    thoriso themane  |  polokwane  |  crime  |  courts

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