Pretoria - Mamelodi businessman Vusi “Khekhe” Mathibela is, according to his family, a good person, an excellent family man and a person who will never resort to violence.
This is according to a social worker who presented her report regarding Mathibela’s personal circumstances to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, yesterday, ahead of sentencing for him and his three co-accused over the 2015 killing of billionaire Wandile Bozwana.
Both Mathibela and his family pleaded for mercy from Judge Papi Mosopa. His family said that they would welcome him home with open arms and will take care of him.
Mathibela, 36, was more than a year ago convicted of Bozwana’s murder and the attempted murder of his business partner, Mpho Baloyi. He and his co-accused, Sipho Hudla, Matamela Robert Mutapa and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo, all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The court was yesterday told that Mathibela had no remorse for the killing of Bozwana, as he was not involved in the gunning down of the pair on the N1 on the Garsfontein off-ramp.
Bozwana died later that day in hospital, while the wounded Baloyi, who drove them to find help, survived the ordeal.
In going through Mathibela’s background, the social worker said he had a fairly happy childhood and grew up with his grandmother who took care of him. His family owned taxis and when his father died, his family continued to run the business.
His grandmother later gave him two taxis which he used to start his own business when he was only 17, which thrived until his arrest. He is said to be an astute businessman, who also owned a security company in Midrand.
Mathibela told the social worker that since his incarceration in C-Max Prison, he was “boxed in with nothing to live for”. He said he would never be able to forget what he had seen and heard in prison.
The court was also told that being locked up in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, with only two minutes in which to shower, had broken him physically and emotionally.
He and his family felt that the system had dismally failed them.
One of his business partners told the social worker that Mathibela had taught her kindness.
She and his family said they were shocked when he was arrested after the Bozwana killing, as “this type of thing” was simply not in his character.
A clinical psychologist, who did an assessment of Mathibela, earlier testified that he presented symptoms which met the diagnostic criteria of “generalised anxiety disorder” coupled with major depressive disorder.
He also displayed symptoms of a post-traumatic stress disorder, and symptoms of a personality disorder.
It was said that he was struggling to cope with solitary confinement, which the expert said could be considered not only “psychological torture” but also “physical torture”.
One of the defence advocates this week told Judge Masopa that she would ask him to call a correctional services official to the stand to testify about the awaiting trial conditions for prisoners both in the jail and in C-Max.
This was to illustrate that this was “severe”punishment for inmates, as they have no privileges in jail prior to being sentenced.
The social worker, meanwhile, presented a number of physical ailments in her report regarding Mathibela, but these were not read out in court as the judge earlier ordered that his physical condition was confidential and the media may not report on it.