Court clears Pretoria businessman

Muhamed Sajid Khan during sentencing in 2022

Muhamed Sajid Khan during sentencing in 2022

Published Mar 12, 2024


After spending about a year and a half of his life sentence behind bars, the name of a Pretoria businessman shot dead two members of the so-called Concerned Tshwane Residents, has been cleared.

The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on appeal found that Muhamed Sajid Khan acted in self defence when he fired two shots, killing Mamelodi businessman and activist Kabelo Matlala and bystander Avela Mbewu on February 1, 2020.

The court, in overturning his conviction and sentence, ordered the immediate release of Khan.

On the day of the incident, members of the organisation went to one of Khan's properties in Luttig Street, Pretoria West, to verify whether he was the registered owner of the property.

Khan said he had fired shots that day in self-defence but Judge Papi Mosopa in June 2022, found that the shooting was premeditated.

The judge said Khan had received a call earlier that day that there was a group gathered at his Pretoria West property, and had his firearm ready and by his side when he stopped at the premises in his black Lexus.

Khan’s version of the events was that on the day of the incident, he received an anonymous phone call that he had to go to his Luttig Street property.

He said when he got there, he saw a group of people, including the two deceased, there. He said he knew they were members of the organisation whose aim was to “rid Pretoria from foreign ownership of property by unfair means”.

According to him, he was part of an application launched in court in 2019 to obtain an interdict against the group, which was hijacking foreign-owned property, including some of his properties.

Khan, a Pakistani national, is a naturalised South African citizen living in the country for many years.

He said that on the day of the incident, the group demanded the title deeds to his property. According to him, they were aggressive and he had noted, that some of them had firearms, which were covered by their trousers and shirts.

He said after stopping at his property, he tried to close the gate to the property, but he could not as he was pushed by the crowd and stumbled backwards.

Khan explained that, as he feared for his life, he fired several shots. According to him, he did not act unlawfully and only tried to defend his life.

On appeal before three judges, he argued that the trial court erred in rejecting his defence of private defence. The court also misdirected itself by finding that his conduct was premeditated, he said.

The court on appeal found that the undisputed bullet trajectory finding showed that the person who was shooting at the deceased had done so without aiming, and was not stable on his feet.

The court found that this evidence corroborated the appellant's version that he was stumbling backwards when he started shooting.

The State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant had the intent to commit murder when believing that his life and his property were threatened, the three judges on appeal ruled.

Pretoria News

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