Taxi boss tells court why he should be released on bail

Taxi boss and businessman Bonke Makalala.

Taxi boss and businessman Bonke Makalala.

Published Jan 9, 2024


The State has painted taxi boss and businessman Bonke Makalala, 33, as a person who had an influence in police circles and recently allegedly attempted to influence correctional officers at the Malmesbury facility where he is currently remanded.

However, he has denied the allegations and insisted that the State is trying to make him out to be a dangerous criminal to society.

Makalala’s formal bail hearing started at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday where he faces numerous charges including murder, two attempted murders which related to an incident where taxi owner Masixole Batwali was shot and killed in 2019 in Batwali Street, Old Crossroad, Nyanga.

He was also charged for driving a police vehicle in Ocean View.

Two police officers based at the Nyanga police station who allegedly allowed him to do so are currently out on R2 000 bail.

They also face disciplinary action.

Prosecutor Nico Breyl read to the court an affidavit of a detective from the provincial detective serious and violent crime unit.

“It is clear in the Ocean View case that the accused has a huge influence on some individuals within SAPS.

“In this matter the accused was driving a marked police vehicle, impersonating himself as a police officer and giving commands to the public.

“The police had driven the vehicle from Nyanga to Ocean View and at Makalala’s request handed over the vehicle to the accused.

“The accused was so arrogant about his conduct that he posted the video on Instagram showing how he can undermine the police (regarding) the murder in Nyanga in 2019 the accused made numerous phone calls to a police officer of the serious and violent crimes unit stationed at Nyanga, before and after the incident.

“The police officer is under investigation as it has already been established that Bonke Makalala is not a police informant.”

Breyl alleged that the accused attempted to “bribe officials with financial gifts”.

“The accused is involved in serious violent crimes and has been arrested in possession of firearms more than once.

“The accused is also charged with premeditated murder. The cases against Mr Makalala are very serious and strong. He faces a minimum term of life in prison. It clearly shows disregard for human life.

“The accused has a passport which makes it possible for him to leave the Republic when released on bail,” he added.

Representing Makalala, advocate Reuben Liddell, read an affidavit on his client’s behalf where he denied alleged crimes or attempted bribes.

“I dispute that I tried to influence any correctional officers at the Malmesbury Correctional Facility.

“I further wish to draw the court's attention (to the fact that) that annexure ‘10’ of the State's opposing affidavit does not allege that I attempted to influence the correctional officer to act in any specific way or to get preferential treatment.

“Notwithstanding the above, I did not offer any money to the correctional officer.”

He also denied posting the video in respect of the police vehicle on social media.

“The allegation of the State (in the Nyanga matter) is vague as it does not disclose who the police officer is and the nature of the phone call.

“It should further be mentioned that one does not need to be an informer to provide information relating to a crime, report a crime and/or contact a police official.

“I reiterate the mentioning of this matter by the State is to create an atmosphere by labelling me as an alleged ‘dangerous criminal’ without me ever being convicted of any crime.

I am a law-abiding citizen of this country,” he said.

Makalala said while he was initially released on bail in some of the matters or when the matters were withdrawn, he addressed infrastructure issues in his hometown, “as the government did not have the budget for it”.

He was referring to being dubbed a “Good Samaritan” and featured in a newspaper and broadcast for constructing a bridge in the Eastern Cape.

“My release positively affects the fiscus of the country.”

The matter was postponed to January 30.

Cape Times