DURBAN - Social justice and independent community activist Vanessa Burger has filed an urgent appeal for the review of the Ixopo Regional Court Magistrate’s decision to grant bail to Sindiso Magaqa murder suspects.
In a decision last week which Burger called bizarre, the magistrate granted R5 000 bail to all three accused.
She filed her papers on Monday where she copied KZN Acting Regional Court President: Magistrate Sello Maboee, KZN Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Elaine Zungu, Minister for Justice and Correctional Services: Mr Ronald Lamola, Justice Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, and the National Director of Public Prosecutions head, Advocate Shamila Batohi.
Burger said she was making this application as a human rights defender who regularly assists whistle-blowers and state witnesses, saying she was previously instrumental in assisting the police and witnesses in the “Glebelands Eight” matter currently at trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
She said political killings in the province, and particularly the murder of Sindiso Magaqa, have garnered considerable public interest and was therefore in everyone’s interests that justice is served and must be seen to be served.
- “Alarming allegations regarding Mr Magaqa’s assassination have already surfaced in the media. These include: that the hit on Mr Magaqa was part of a broader campaign – ‘Project Blow Out’, apparently financed by the crime intelligence ‘slush fund’ – that targeted politicians in the ANC’s factional conflict;
- That crime intelligence officers used state resources to purchase the vehicle and rifle used in the attack on Mr Magaqa;
- That the original suspect, Jabulani Mdunge, was an active police informer who committed crimes while being on the SAPS’ payroll and was recruited to kill Mr Magaqa;
- That Mr Mdunge was killed by the same rogue officers – his handlers – during a purported ‘cash-in-transit heist’ in order to prevent him from exposing them and their nefarious activities.
- To date, none of these allegations have been refuted by the state or evidence to the contrary presented to the public,” said Burger.
She added that the recent awarding of bail to Mr Magaqa’s murder accused now contributes to the perception that there is a high level of political and/or criminal interference in this matter and that a successful prosecution will be unlikely if the accused remain free.
“I am, therefore, appealing for the decision to award bail to Sibonelo Myeza, Mbulelo Mpofana and Mlungisi Ncalane to be taken under urgent review and for the Magistrate who made this ruling to be investigated and duly sanctioned, if necessary.”
Magaqa’s family spokesperson Lwazi Magaqa told the Daily News on Wednesday that the investigator and the prosecutor came home after the bail was granted to inform the family, saying they registered their dissatisfaction at how the whole matter was handled and promised to lodge a complaint with an intention to appeal the ruling.
Lwazi said that sources close to the prosecution told the family that the magistrate was glued on his laptop during the hearing and announced his verdict immediately after the end of the argument, which made them suspect that the verdict had already been reached before the hearing.
The NPA spokesperson had not responded to Burger’s urgent application at the time of the publication, but last week, said the NPA was mulling appealing the decision.
Magaqa, who once led the ANC youth league as secretary-general, was a councillor in Umzimkhulu when he was attacked in July 2017.
The suspected hitman, Jabulani Mdunge, who was believed to be one who pulled the trigger, was also killed in a few weeks in a cash heist in Harding before Magaqa succumbed to gun wounds at the hospital.
Burger claimed that Mdunge’s killing was a plot to destroy evidence that would link police’s involvement in the Magaqa murder.
Another suspect who was the first to be arrested was Sibusiso Ncengwa, whom the police said was arrested while in prison for other cases.
According to the evidence led so far, Myeza, Mpofana and Ncalane were placed in the vicinity of the scene by cell phone records.