Pretoria - Taxi boss Vusi Mathibela, once referred to as “Mamelodi’s No 1 Tsotsi”, will know later this month whether or not he will be a free man in the Wandile Bozwana murder case.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, is due to deliver its judgment on whether he and his three co-accused were responsible for the assassination of the billionaire businessperson.
This marathon trial, which has been ongoing for nearly five years in the high court, is drawing to a close after both the State and the defence delivered their final arguments this week ahead of judgment.
Judge Papi Mosopa postponed the trial to June 22, when he will deliver his verdict.
Mathibela and his co-accused – Sipho Hudla, Matamela Robert Mutapa and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo – have been in custody for three years. His bail was revoked in June 2019 for violating his set conditions.
Counsel for Mathibela argued that there is not a shred of evidence linking the accused to Bozwana’s killing and the attempted murder of his business partner Mpho Baloyi.
While the prosecution is mostly relying on circumstantial evidence and so-called confessions made by some of the accused, the defence argued that these amounted to nothing.
It was argued that the evidence of cellphone experts, which placed the handsets of the accused in the vicinity of the crime scene at the time, was unreliable.
It was argued that cellphone records could never exactly pinpoint where a person was at a certain time as there were many variables which could influence the data relied on.
Regarding the so-called confessions made by some of the accused, the defence argued that this was done under duress and that the police added their own information on the “confessions” to implicate the accused.
Counsel for Mathibela argued that there was nothing against his client, apart from evidence that he was at Sandton Square on the morning of the killing.
This was the same time during which Bozwana and Baloyi were shopping. But the court was told that this was not odd, as Mathibela was a man who liked nice clothes and frequented upmarket men’s clothing shops in the mall.
The prosecution, on the other hand, said all the evidence placed together, pinpointed at the three as being involved in the murder and attempted murder.
Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje also relied on the confessions made by some of the accused.
The court earlier heard that Hudla made a confession in which he implicated Mathibela as the person who had ordered the “hit”. It was also said in this document that Mathibela later paid them “for the job”.
Hudla, however, vehemently denied that he made it out of his own will and according to him, he was assaulted into confessing something he knew nothing about.
According to the prosecution, Bozwana and Baloyi were followed while they went to a shoe store inside Sandton City as well as when they visited a hair and nail salon, where each had a manicure and pedicure.
It is claimed that they were then followed to a McDonald’s restaurant in Rivonia Road, as well as when they left Joburg north and headed back to Pretoria via the N1.
Baloyi was driving the car at the time. Two armed gunmen came to their car as they stopped at a red traffic light at the Garsfontein off-ramp and fired several shots at them.
Baloyi, who was also wounded, managed to drive on and obtained help at a glass company in Menlyn.
Bozwana, however, died shortly afterwards.