Legal experts weigh in on businessman’s naming in AKA case

Gcaba family distance themselves from AKA murder. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers African News Agency (ANA)

Gcaba family distance themselves from AKA murder. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 2, 2024


Legal experts said businessman Mfundo Gcaba’s name being mentioned in the investigating officer’s affidavit during the bail application for the accused charged with the murder of AKA does not mean that the taxi boss was involved in the plot to kill the musician.

Investigating officer Kumarasan Pillay’s affidavit stated that a payment of more than R800 000 was paid into the account of accused Mziwethemba Gwabeni following a phone call with Gcaba, one day after the murder of Kiernan “AKA” Forbes and his friend Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane.

The Gcaba family have now said in a statement that the money was paid purely for business purposes.

The five murder accused in the AKA and Tibz murder case are applying for bail and have indicated that they intend to plead not guilty.

Legal expert Abigail Ngobeni said Gcaba was not facing any charges; the State was rather trying to establish where the money deposited into Gwabeni’s bank account came from.

“The onus lies on the State to prove if there was any involvement by Gcaba, but as indicated the State is trying to establish where the R800000 came from. We have also heard in the investigating officer’s affidavit that R800 000 was shared amongst the murder accused suspects.”

Ngobeni agreed that the State did open itself to possible litigation by mentioning Gcaba’s name as he was not facing any charges. “The State will have to provide evidence against Gcaba that he was involved in the murders, if not they leave themselves open to legal action for mentioning Gcaba’s name ... ”

Legal expert Mpumelelo Zikalala said the State hadn’t done anything wrong in mentioning Gcaba‘s name.

“A phone call was made by Gwabeni to Gcaba on February 11 and a payment was made following the phone call. The State is trying to establish the circumstances that led to the payment.”

Zikalala said legally Gcaba can’t do anything about his name being mentioned. “The State only mentioned his name, they did not say that he was involved in the AKA murder. The State has to investigate further to establish if this was indeed a legal business transaction or if there was any involvement with the murders.”

Vuyo Manisi, another legal expert, said the State had an obligation to put all the facts before the court which would assist its opposition to bail being granted to the accused.

“Just because Gcaba has not been charged doesn't mean he can't be mentioned. Remember the Shabir Shaik trial? Jacob Zuma's name in the trial was centre stage even though he was only charged some years later,” said Manisi, adding that Gcaba's name could feature in the case but whether he will be charged later on remains to be seen.

A statement issued by Mandla Gcaba on behalf of the Gcaba family, said the family acknowledged the gravity of the situation at hand and the widespread interest it had garnered.

“Mfundo is an adult and is a successful businessman involved in various sectors, including coal mining and the taxi industry. It is important to note that financial transactions between him and Mr Gwabeni were purely for business purposes.”

The family said they were concerned that the authorities have not yet approached Gcaba to share his side of the story.

“We believe in the principle of fairness and the right to be heard, and we urge that this opportunity be extended to him at the earliest convenience. Mfundo has assured the family that he has no connections to any illegal activities, nor does he have any motive to engage in such. We stand united in our support for Mfundo and remain steadfast in our commitment to the rule of law.”

The Mercury