Family of murdered man want accused to serve time in prison, refuse R500,000 compensation

Published Jul 9, 2024


The family of a man who was shot and killed by his alleged friend, turned to AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit for help claiming that the investigating officer and prosecutor allegedly tried to convince them to accept a plea deal.

Xolani Kunene, 38, was killed outside a housing estate in Midrand in the early hours of 13 August 2022.

The father of two died at the scene.

His childhood friend, Buhle Lebohang Mabaso is accused of his murder.

Mabaso was arrested a few hours later allegedly trying to leave Gauteng.

He was subsequently released on R10,000 bail.

Speaking to IOL, Kunene’s sister, Sindisiwe Mhlongo, 39, said she was not happy with how her brother’s case was being handled by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“They told us this was an open and shut case because Buhle was captured by surveillance cameras shooting my brother, we were also convinced that it won’t take long because there was overwhelming evidence against Buhle but two years there is no progress in the case and keeps getting postponed without valid reasons,” she said.

Mhlongo said sometime in 2023, Mabaso’s lawyer reached out to the prosecution and allegedly offered Kunene’s family R500,000 compensation in exchange for him pleading guilty to culpable homicide and no prison time, only a suspended sentence.

“The prosecution and the detective were trying to convince us to take the compensation, they were specifically convincing my brother’s wife that this is the best she could get because some people get nothing.

“I intervened and told them that my brother was a civil engineer and we would prefer pursuing a wrongful death and loss of support case through the civil courts as that is worth millions,” she said.

Buhle Lebohang Mabaso, has been accused of killing childhood friend, Xolani Kunene. Photo: X/ @barrybateman

According to Mhlongo she believes that her brother’s murder was premeditated because the accused and the deceased were estranged following a fall out in 2016; three weeks after Mabaso called to make amends, her brother was dead.

She explained Mabaso reached to her brother about a business deal and her brother being an entrepreneur, was interested because he was experiencing financial difficulties at the time.

“I’m assuming that’s why he entertained Buhle because he needed money to provide for his family and he didn’t want an old beef to stand in the way.”

On the eve of the murder, August 12, she said Mabaso went to her brother’s house and asked him to sign some papers for a tender deal and then suggested that they go out for the night.

“To show that Buhle was acting with intention, there was a third party who needed a lift home and he lives several blocks from my brother’s house. Buhle had to pass my brother’s home to drop off this other person, he drove past with my brother because he needed him alone to kill him.”

Mhlongo said her brother was shot at least five times and it was absurd for the prosecution to ask them to accept compensation which will allow Mabaso to walk free.

Meanwhile, AfriForum spokesperson Barry Bateman, said after seeing the surveillance footage of the shooting, they believe Mabaso should be charged with murder.

“We will closely monitor the case and ensure that all the evidence, including the surveillance footage, is presented to the court,” said Bateman.

NPA Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane was unavailable for comment. This story will be updated with her comments as soon as IOL receives them.

The matter will be back in court on July 29.

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