Suspect in deputy minister's kidnap case sent to wrong prison
Johannesburg - The case against four men accused of hijacking and kidnapping Deputy Minister of Justice Minister Thabang Makwetla was postponed this week after one of them was taken to the wrong prison after an appearance in Pretoria for another crime.
Mojalefa Mathe, Motsepe Gidion, Brandon Katlego Mashego and Ben Kutumela were arrested earlier this year for allegedly kidnapping Makwetla at gunpoint, forcing him to draw money from his bank account before dumping him in a veld where he believed he was going to be killed.
This week, three of the four men appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, where they had all decided to launch a bail application, despite the fact they remain in custody on other charges at different courts.
However, Gidion was absent, and investigating officer on the case, Werner van den Bergh, was called to the stand to explain where the accused was.
According to Van den Bergh, Gidion had appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s court for another matter, where he had also applied for bail.
When the bail was denied, the investigating officer on that case had failed to fill in the J7 form that meant Gidion would be brought for the Randburg proceedings.
He said that because of this, Gidion was taken to a Pretoria prison, and Van den Bergh had only found this out on the morning of this week’s proceedings.
Gidion’s unavailability meant the case was postponed to this Monday for the bail application to continue.
Makwetla has attended the proceedings thus far, and in previous interviews with the Saturday Star, has said he hopes to help rehabilitate the four men if they are found guilty.