Makhanya bail denied

2019-06-06 15:00
Gavel and scales

Gavel and scales

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A local magistrate ruled on Wednesday that it is not in the public interest to release the man who allegedly gunned down ANC activist Musawenkosi “Maqatha” Mchunu.

Pietermaritzburg magistrate M. Boikhutso said that granting Joseph Makhanya bail would undermine public peace and security. He is allegedly one of three men who pumped 15 bullets into Mchunu as he reversed out of his driveway in KwaPata a year ago.

This is according to the investigating officer, Captain Malesela Sema, whose affidavit was handed to the court by prosecutor Rene Padayachee.

Sema said that 20 spent cartridges and three bullets were found at the scene. Three different firearms were used. Msunduzi councillor Nkosinathi “TK” Gambu, Gift Zungu, Nkanyiso Zimu, Sifiso Mbele, Mlungisi Zimu and Ayanda Ngubane were also arrested for the murder and were previously denied bail.

Sema said Makhanya made a “confession” to a police officer. It appears that he and his accomplices knew each other and they communicated before, during and after the murder on cellphones, he said.

Mchunu had been an active member of the ANC. He was involved in community projects to uplift his community, province and the country.

Sema added that Mchunu was the face of a campaign by a section of ANC members in the Moses Mabhida region to expose corruption and maladministration in municipalities such as uMgungundlovu­ and Msunduzi. After he completed his tenure as a ward councillor, he continued to take part in community projects.

Sema added Makhanya hated Mchunu because of all the good that he was doing and wanted him removed from any political or community position he held.

The magistrate said that Makhanya claims he was forced and tortured into making the confession. But she questioned how it came about that cell phone records place Makhanya and his accomplices in all the places he mentions in the confession.

The magistrate said it is not her task to decide if the confession is “admissible or not” as this is for the trial court to decide.

Makhanya told the court when he was put on the stand to explain why he should be granted bail, that while he was being tortured, police kept on telling him to say that he handed the firearms to an ANC ward councillor in uMshwati, Njabulo Cebekhulu.

Last year Cebekhulu, who is reportedly a Jacob Zuma supporter, was one of the people who brought an unsuccessful application to the high court to compel the ANC to hold a regional elective conference (REC) in the Moses Mabhida Region.

The state alleges that Mchunu’s murder was politically motivated and had to do with a factional battle between the supporters of Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Boikhutso also questioned why when police made contact with Makhanya prior to his arrest, he called Cebekhulu and other people who held positions in the ANC, when Makhanya said he was not their friend.

Boikhutso queried how he had all their contact numbers in the first place.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maqatha murder

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