Charges against blue-light guard dropped

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Copy of NM MOKOENA 2

THE MERCURY

Sithembiso Mokoena, left, was cleared of any wrongdoing after the charges against him for his involvement in the N3 blue-light shooting were dropped. With him are his lawyer, Siphiwe Mncwango, centre, and the now sole accused, Thulasizwe Mbanjwa. Photo: Jacques Naude

Durban - All charges against one of the mayoral bodyguards accused of shooting at a motorist on the N3 in October have been dropped.

Prosecutor Nqobile Malinga said the State would not pursue charges of pointing a firearm and discharging a firearm in public, against Sithembiso Mokoena when he appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

This came after the initial charges of attempted murder against Mokoena and his co-accused at the time, Thulasizwe Mbanjwa, were dropped last week.

The pair were escorting Umgungundlovu District mayor Yusuf Bhamjee to Durban when the incident in which multiple shots were allegedly fired at a motorist, Wynand Rautenbach, whom they deemed a threat, took place.

“The charges against Mokoena were dropped as the senior public prosecutor found the charges, of pointing a firearm and discharging a firearm in a public place, can only be proven against Mbanjwa,” said National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson-Kara.

The charges against Mbanjwa would stand with his trial set to start in February.

Malinga originally requested that the court adjourn the matter while the State finalised its decision as to whether it would pursue charges against Mokoena, but magistrate Ambigabathi Kisten refused, instructing the State to decide before the end of the day.

The decision to drop the charges has disappointed Rautenbach.

“Either way you look at it, they are getting away with it.

“Mbanjwa is probably only going to get a suspended sentence,” he said.

He also questioned how Mbanjwa was allowed to be in possession of a firearm after media reports said he had been convicted of attempted murder for his involvement in the 1999 assassination of United Democratic Movement leader Sifiso Nkabinde.

The Mercury


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