Mamelodi taxi boss claims arrest is unlawful, court hears

2019-03-14 19:31
A former magistrate has been charged with fraud. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

A former magistrate has been charged with fraud. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Mamelodi taxi boss Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela claimed he was unlawfully arrested and that his continued detention would therefore also be unlawful.

This was the submission the Pretoria Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday when Mathibela's advocate, Anneline van den Heever, lodged an application for her client's immediate release.

He has been charged with extortion, assault and intimidation for allegedly terrorising the Mamelodi community and extorting money from spaza shop owners, taxi drivers and other local businesses. 

Van den Heever read out an affidavit by Mathibela, who turned himself over to police on Wednesday after he was informed that warrant had been issued for his arrest.

No warrant of arrest 

In it, he claimed that the warrant had not been made available to his attorney, who accompanied him to the Germiston Police Station. 

"The understanding at all relevant times was that I would hand myself over pursuant to a warrant of arrest that was obtained."

Mathibela contended that arrangements were made for him to be taken to the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday where he would meet his attorney and the matter of the arrest warrant would be ironed out.

But, according to Mathibela, he was not taken to court.

On Thursday morning, Mathibela's legal representatives approached the court's senior prosecutor and requested the warrant of arrest.

"My legal team was informed that I was not arrested pursuant to the said warrant of arrest but in terms of section 40 of the Criminal Procedure Act."

Section 40 deals with instances in which a peace officer can make an arrest without an arrest warrant.

Mathibela added that at the time of his arrest, he was not given reasons for the arrest, nor given particulars of the offences he was said to have committed.

"I have the right to be informed promptly of the reasons for my detention. This has not happened." 

Mathibela dishonoured an agreement to appear in Court

Prosecutor Lizo Tshomela conceded that Mathibela was not arrested in terms of an arrest warrant, but said there was good reason for this.

Tshomela added that section 40 of the Criminal Procedure Act made provision for an arrest. 

According to Tshomela, the taxi boss gave an undertaking that he would appear in court on Monday with two of his closest associates, who had been arrested over the weekend. 

However, he dishonoured that agreement, said Tshomela. 

The court heard that Mathibela had been hunted since Monday and investigators tried to track him down until he handed himself over on Wednesday. 

"The accused has been lawfully arrested and detained," Tshomela told the court. 

Magistrate Mali Mokoena dismissed Mathibela's application. 

The matter was postponed to Friday when Mathibela is expected to appear alongside co-accused, Elias Skhosana and Stemer Monageng.

Previous arrests

Skhosana and Monageng, two of Mathibela's closest associates made their first court appearance on Monday after they were arrested over the weekend.

They have also been charged with extortion and intimidation.

Allegations are a rouse 

Coincidentally, News24 interviewed Skhosana on Friday morning just hours before he was arrested.

Skhosana inferred that the allegations were fuelled by disagreements with rival taxi owners in Mamelodi, aimed at discrediting the taxi boss in question.

He also said that Mathibela would welcome the opportunity to ventilate the matter in court to prove his innocence.

Mathibela is currently on trial for the murder of construction and property mogul Wandile Bozwana, who was shot in an suspected hit in 2016 in Pretoria.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  courts
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