Polokwane 'hit': Witness slams 'flawed' report as man accused of killing wife applies for bail

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Magistrate's Court.
Magistrate's Court.
PHOTO: Duncan Alfreds, News24
  • Makoena Mabusela-Leshabane and Tebogo Mphuti were shot and killed in Polokwane on 10 October.
  • Mabusela-Leshabane's husband was arrested soon after the murders.
  • He is applying for bail and his defence has submitted a psychological report as part of its bid to get him out of prison.

A psychological report on Thabo Stanley Leshabane, accused of masterminding the murder of his businesswoman wife and her colleague, again came under scrutiny in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Leshabane, 57, stands accused of ordering a hit on his wife, Makoena Mabusela-Leshabane, 46, and her business partner Tebogo Mphuti, 35.

The two women were hijacked and shot dead in Polokwane last month after viewing a property they were interested in buying.

The report was prepared by independent psychologist Elmare Pieterse, on behalf of the defence team, in support of Leshabane's bail application.

The State called to the stand police psychologist Colonel Modjadji Mpata, who told the court the report was flawed.

Mpata felt the psychological assessment could have been done differently as it did not meet certain guidelines.

"I believe that if you have [a] flawed assessment, then you will arrive at a flawed conclusion.

"Pieterse showed Leshabane has a good relationship with his family and children. But I find it surprising that she did not consult with family members," Mpata testified.

'Doesn't mean she has more experience'

She also pointed out that Pieterse spent only 60 minutes assessing Leshabane.

"This was [a] very short time to get as much information as possible.

"The report should also be informed by literature. There's no mention of literature (in the report)," she added. 

Defence attorney John Makgotho tried to poke holes in Mpata's submission, suggesting that she was inexperienced to conduct a critique of a report by a veteran psychologist.

Makgotho suggested that Mpata was inexperienced because she was still in Grade 6 in 1998 when Pieterse was already a practising psychologist.

Mpata replied: "Having a number of years in the profession does not translate into experience. It doesn't mean she (Pieterse) has more experience than me.

"It means she has been admitted (as a psychologist) longer than me."

She said she was a psychologist at grade 1 level before she was promoted to grade 2 in the Department of Health.

Gender-based violence 

She joined the South African Police Service on 1 September 2020. She said she had prepared numerous psychological reports which were never rejected by the courts.

Pieterse was not called to the witness stand.

After a few exchanges with Magistrate Janine Ungerer, Makgotho said he may consider calling Pieterse to the stand.

Makgotho said the time Pieterse spent with Leshabane should not be a factor because it was currently very difficult to gain access to prison.

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

Another witness, Caroline Thema, who is Mabusela-Leshabane's aunt, said a campaign against bail being granted was started after the killings.

She said a petition garnered more than 11 000 signatures. She also produced a memo from the Mabusela-Leshabane family pleading with the court not to grant bail.

"It is our stance that anyone arrested for gender-based violence be denied bail," Thema said.

The bail application was postponed to 24 November 2020 to hear more evidence, including that of the investigating officer. 

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