Deputy Minister of Justice Thabang Makwetla was abducted and hijacked. File picture: Elmond Jiyane

Johannesburg - Detectives probing the hijacking of Deputy Minister of Justice Thabang Makwetla are still trying to track down his vehicle, which they believe may provide the links needed to uncover further criminals related to the crime.

Meanwhile, the four men already in custody are now planning on launching bail applications after already being imprisoned since June.

On May 21, Makwetla was kidnapped by a group of armed men, forced to draw sums of money from his bank account and then dumped in a stretch of veld where he believed he was going to be executed. While the men allowed him to run away, he spent hours trying to get back to a main road and get home.

Mojalefa Mathe, Motsepe Gidion, Brandon Katlego Mashego and Ben Kutumela were arrested for the hijacking and appeared at the Randburg Magistrate’s court earlier this week. 

The troupe told the court through their respective lawyers that even after abandoning their bail bids in June, they were now ready to apply. 

However, State advocate Monde Mbaqa, newly appointed to the case, told the court the four would have to apply for bail under the conditions of a schedule-six offence, meaning it will be up to the accused to prove to the court as to why they should be granted their freedom pending trial.

The court postponed the case until October26 for further investigation.

However, the Saturday Star understands the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions had also asked for the postponement to clear up some matters surrounding the investigation, namely as to why certain forensic evidence was requested for the case. 

It is understood that such DNA-related evidence is currently being used to determine if the men are linked to other hijacking cases. It has also been revealed that the minister's Range Rover may have made it out of the province via a fence who specialised in luxury stolen goods.

In previous interviews with the Saturday Star, Makwetla said that while he was traumatised by the event, he wishes to help rehabilitate the men he believes are responsible. After they had kidnapped him, Makwetla said he had tried to reason with the group and explain that he recognised the hardship under which they lived. If he were to continue this conversation with them as he had planned, he said he would want them to recognise that as proud South Africans they should not continue the cycle of violence and deprivation already inflicted on communities started by the previous generation.

“On a personal level, I am eager for the case to be completed soon so I can attend to the dialogue started on the night of the hijacking,” he said at the group's previous appearance.

Saturday Star