Durban — It is unclear when the trial following an alleged kidnapping of a then 11-year-old boy - who was held for R1 million ransom - will be heard.
This is after the lawyer of two of the accused for the second time failed to appear in the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court without reasons being given on Wednesday.
Attempts to reach him on his phone were unsuccessful. Lawyer B J Mbokazi on Tuesday had made an undertaking over the phone to be in court.
The boy was 11 years old in 2022 when he was kidnapped and his mother paid R90 000 ransom to his alleged kidnappers, including his neighbour, who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the crime.
Lindokuhle Mthokozisi Thabede, 29, Mvelo Khuzwayo, 29, Fisokuhle Mathews Mbatha, 32, and the 40-year-old neighbour of the child are alleged to have kidnapped the boy at gunpoint and kept him at a certain house and demanded R1m ransom from the child’s mother.
The child’s neighbour cannot be named to protect the identity of the minor child.
Mbokazi represents the neighbour and Mbatha.
“We are waiting for Mr Mbokazi and he doesn’t seem to be present,” said State prosecutor Kaystree Ramsamujh.
Lawyer Xolani Dlamini represents Thabede and Khuzwayo.
“He is not picking up his phone,” said the accused neighbour in response to magistrate Mohamed Motala, who asked him about Mbokazi’s whereabouts.
On Tuesday when Mbokazi did not arrive Dlamini, who had spoken to him Monday, said he had indicated that he had not been paid.
On Wednesday in court, Mbatha told the court he had paid Mbokazi.
The trial was meant to have started on Tuesday and was set down till Thursday. However, Mbokazi’s no-show has led to the accused having to find another lawyer, thus delaying the trial.
It is alleged on May 18, 2022, in Umzinyathi in Inanda the men kidnapped the child just a stone's throw away from his home as he was being driven to school that morning. They also allegedly kidnapped the child’s driver and forced him into the boot of a car at gunpoint.
It is alleged that on that day the accused contacted the child’s mother demanding ransom of R1m, failing which the child would be killed.
After the child was kidnapped the child’s mother contacted the police and the ransom was given to the accused under police surveillance.
The child was kept in a certain house from the morning of that day until being rescued by police after one of the accused volunteered information about the child’s location. This had been after police intercepted the vehicle the accused had been travelling in.
The ransom money was allegedly recovered in the home of one of the accused. The neighbour was the final accused to be arrested after being linked by cellphone evidence.
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