Mamelodi taxi boss intends to take Cele to court over 'thugs' comments

2019-03-17 07:21
Taxi boss Vusi Mathibela stands in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court dock. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Taxi boss Vusi Mathibela stands in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court dock. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

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Mamelodi taxi boss Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela and his business partner Elias Skhosana have indicated they intend to institute civil action against Police Minister Bheki Cele, accusing him of defaming them.

Their main gripe stems from a speech Cele made in Mamelodi on March 1 in which he called them thugs. At the time, he was launching the Crime Combat and Reaction Team for Mamelodi.

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, Skhosana and a third business partner, Stemer Monageng, have since been arrested for allegedly extorting money from taxi drivers, spaza shop owners and local businesses.

Last week, before their arrests, News24 spoke to Skhosana, who also acts as Mathibela's spokesperson.

"I would say definitely for sure, we would be going the route of some litigation to recover what is left of our dignity," Skhosana said at the time.

"We will take Cele on [regarding] this matter. We will not let Cele get away with this. Cele is a national minister. He has a responsibility to protect all of us.

"He doesn't have a reasonability to be personal with people because our position has been clear, the business of cops is to arrest and let the justice department conclude on the matter."

Since his arrest Mathibela has abandoned his bail application in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, seeking instead to approach the High Court to have his arrested declared unlawful.

He has also accused police of assaulting him while in custody. This allegation was read out by his lawyer in court on Friday.

Exclusive: Net closing in on taxi boss who allegedly terrorised Mamelodi community

Cele's spokesperson, Reneilwe Serero, said the minister would wait for court papers to be lodged before commenting.

Arrests

Skhosana was arrested during multi-disciplinary intelligence-driven operation at his home in a Silverlakes Estate, Pretoria East, last Friday, while Monageng was arrested in the early hours of last week Saturday at his home in Bronkhorstspruit.

Four other men linked to Mathibela were also arrested in Midrand for the unlawful possession of firearms and the contravention of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act.

Mathibela was arrested on Tuesday evening after he handed himself over to police in Germiston.

Skhosana and Monageng in court

On Monday, Skhosana and Monageng appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court where the case against them was postponed because the State needed more time to gather information for a formal bail application.

While Mathibela wants to approach the High Court, Skhosana and Monageng have indicated they will continue with their bail bid on Monday.

READ: Alleged taxi driver, spaza shop extortioners appear in court

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

In a statement last Sunday, police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters added that the recovered firearms would also be put through ballistics to establish possible links to serious and violent crimes.

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Read more on:    police  |  bheki cele  |  tshwane  |  crime
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