Limpopo court hears man accused of ordering hit on his wife is a threat to witnesses

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From right: Thabo Leshabane, Mbekezi Butheledzi, John Zulu, Sfiso Bhekinhlezo, and Emanuel Dlamini.   Photo by Joshua Sebola
From right: Thabo Leshabane, Mbekezi Butheledzi, John Zulu, Sfiso Bhekinhlezo, and Emanuel Dlamini. Photo by Joshua Sebola
  • Thabo Leshabane was arrested days after his wife and her business partner were murdered last month.
  • His wife's sister gave evidence during his bail application in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
  • Leshabane's lawyer indicated that he'll tell the court he has no history of absconding.

The Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Tuesday heard a man accused of masterminding the murder of his businesswoman wife and her colleague may "silence" witnesses and abscond from trial if granted bail.

Thabo Stanley Leshabane stands accused of ordering a hit on his wife Makoena Mabusela-Leshabane and her colleague Tebogo Mphuti.

Mabusela-Leshabane, 46, and Mphuti, 35, were hijacked and shot dead after viewing a business property they were interested in buying in Polokwane on 10 October.

Leshabane, 57, is currently applying for bail together with four co-accused - John Zulu, 30, Ndondo Buthelezi, 25, Bhekimuzi Phiyose, 34, and Thembelani Dlamini, 30.

The State, represented by Chantelle Stevens, is opposing bail.

Dr Peggy Mafojane, the younger sister of Mabusela-Leshabane, told the court that the murdered woman's family strongly believes her husband has the potential to kill his co-accused and witnesses, and then abscond.

"I speak under oath that Mr Leshabane runs several businesses in many provinces and this entails him travelling across (different) provinces. 

"He will have access to money and this can make him to disappear.

"He knows the co-accused and he might silence them because they planned the murder together.

"As a family, we are afraid to co-exist with him because two women have already lost their lives. We don't know what will happen to us as witnesses," Mafojane said.

ALSO READ | Gauteng man who killed wife, claiming he thought she was intruder, remains in custody

Defence lawyer John Makgotho asked Mafojane if she had the authority to speak on behalf of the accused.

Makgotho also reminded Mafojane that the country's Constitution allowed the accused to be granted bail on reasonable grounds. 

He told magistrate Janine Ungerer that he would argue at a later stage that Leshabane had no history of absconding.

The State also called to the witness stand police clinical psychologist, a Colonel Sedumedi, who assessed Leshabane on 17 October.

Sedumedi said Leshabane was comfortable with the assessment until the point when the killings (of his wife and her colleague) were discussed. The assessment lasted for about seven hours.

"He indicated he doesn't want to incriminate himself. He denied he attempted suicide and involvement in the killing of his wife," Sedumedi said.

She described Leshabane as suicidal. She said he was a person who "would want to remove himself from [an] unbearable situation".

She also highlighted marital problems which developed between Leshabane and his wife. The problems developed into hostilities over the alleged extra marital affair he claimed his wife had and his financial difficulties.

The matter was postponed to 27 November for  conclusion of evidence and arguments.

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