Mamelodi taxi boss accused of running extortion racket drops bail bid, wants to head to high court

2019-03-16 22:13
(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Mamelodi taxi boss Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela, will not be pursuing his bail application on Monday but is rather demanding that a higher court declare his arrest unlawful and set him free.

Mathibela abandoned his bail application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday, but will be heading to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to challenge his arrest.

The 33-year-old's arrest comes after Police Minister Bheki Cele held a meeting with Mamelodi residents about crime in their area last month.

During the meeting, community members detailed Mathibela's alleged reign of terror, with one man claiming police failed to act when they complained about him, SowetanLive reported at the time.

Mathibela is accused of running an extortion racket and intimidating his victims. He also stands accused of assault.

Mathibela's lawyer, Solomon Mkhabela, told News24 that police acted against the law, soon after Mathibela handed himself over at the Germiston Police Station accompanied by his attorney.

Mkhabela said upon handing himself in at the police station on Wednesday, Mathibela was expected to immediately appear in court, according to the law.

He claimed Mathbela was not arrested in accordance with the law.

"However, this was not what happened after he handed himself over to police as it was arranged. In anticipation that he would appear in court after being handed over at Germiston police station, Mathibela didn't appear in court. He was never taken to court.

"Instead, police assaulted him and subjected him to humiliation. There is no explanation why his constitutional rights were violated by the police. He was severely assaulted and tortured by the police," he said.

Mkhabela said Mathibela sustained internal injuries, his body had lacerations and his wrists were bruised. Bruises on his wrists were not consistent with that of a person who was handcuffed.

READ: Mamelodi taxi boss claims arrest is unlawful, court hears

"My client is suffering from very serious medial conditions that we can't divulge. In this country, no one is above the law. Police have scored an own goal by not bringing him to court soon after he was handed over to them.

"When we enquired about his whereabouts, police said they took him to verify his proof of address at his home in Midrand, as well as his parental home in Mamelodi. The law states that you don't need to take the accused along to prove his proof of address. While travelling with him in Mamelodi, they then turned my client into a mockery," he said.

Mkhabela claimed Mathibela was paraded before the people of Mamelodi when he was forced to walk barefooted, hands handcuffed next to a police vehicle.

"You can't do that in a constitutional state. He also doesn't have access to his medication at Kgosi Mampuru II Prison, where he is being kept.  Attempts were made for a private doctor to visit him, but prison officials refused, saying there are processes that needed to be followed.

"My client won't be pursuing his bail application on Monday. It is a well-known fact. His detention and torture was a fundamental bridge of the law. His detention is unlawful," said Mkhabela.

Mathibela is facing charges of extortion, assault and intimidation for allegedly terrorising the Mamelodi community and extorting money from spaza shop owners, taxi drivers and other local businesses.

Before his arrest, one of Mathibela's associates told News24 that the allegations against him were being "coordinated from within the [taxi] industry itself".

His co-accused Elias Skhosana and Stemmer Monageng will be continuing with their bail application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Monday. 

Police have not yet responded to Mathibela's claims in court.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  court
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