Sentencing of Vusi ‘Khekhe’ Mathibela, co-accused for murder of Wandile Bozwana delayed until next year

Convicted murderer Vusi ‘Khekhe’ Mathibela speaks to his legal team in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Convicted murderer Vusi ‘Khekhe’ Mathibela speaks to his legal team in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 9, 2022


Pretoria - Businessman Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela and his three accomplices will spend the festive season at Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Service centre still awaiting their final sentence for the 2015 murder of billionaire businessman Wandile Bozwana.

The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria could not conclude sentencing proceedings, initially set down for four days this week.

In postponing the proceedings to next year following the conclusion of the testimony of a clinical psychologist called by the defence, Judge Papi Mosopa said before the matter commenced he had called in the legal counsels to his chambers and proposed they proceeded next week despite it being the recess.

"It's recess now, but I was willing to compromise my recess time to deal with this matter because accused 1 and 2 have been in custody since 2015, while the other had been in since 2016. To be honest it doesn't serve justice; you have a right to have the matter resolved speedily.

"I understand that all factors must be placed before the court, but I wanted to dispense of this matter so it can bring closure to whoever is involved. But it is circumstances beyond our control that we have to adjourn."

Judge Masopa said he was dismayed that the matter had to be a long adjournment due to the unavailability of legal counsel, as some informed the court they would only be available in May 2023.

He requested counsels to make it a point to have all witnesses in court and ready to proceed upon the resumption of the case, to enable them to finalise the sentencing proceedings.

Judge Masopa stressed that he wasn’t pleased with the fact that the court had to stand the matter down several times during the testimony of the clinical psychologist only to have documents photocopied costing valuable time.

"I am pleading with counsel that if there are any problems during this period let the problem be resolved. We lost 30 minutes for photocopies to be made and these are things that can be easily avoided if we work together to have everything ready to proceed on time."

Mathibela, Sipho Patrick Hudla, Matamela Robert Mutapa and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo were convicted in June this year for the murder of Bozwana and the attempted murder of his business partner Mpho Baloyi after the trial resumed in April this year.

Although the trial began in 2018, it has been marred by a series of delays including legal counsel for the accused indicating that they were unable to consult with their clients during their stay at the correctional facility in Pretoria.

There were further delays in the trial in 2019 when the court had to hear a trial-within-a-trial after Hudla and Mutapa challenged the admissibility of their confessions. They asserted that the confessions were not made voluntarily, but obtained under duress.

The matter was then set down for 2021. However, it was hit with further delays as defence counsels applied for the acquittal of the four accused as they stated that the accused were of the opinion that the prosecution had failed to present the court with evidence linking them to the matter.

Once that failed, legal counsel for the men asked for yet another postponement in order to call in its own facial recognition expert to dispute CCTV footage obtained identifying Mutapa, as well as to scrutinise the associated forensic cellphone evidence.

The sentencing will resume from May 2 to 5, with the court expected to tackle the report compiled by a social worker.

Bozwana died in a hail of bullets on October 2, 2015, when he stopped at a traffic light on the Garsfontein N1 off-ramp.

Baloyi managed to drive to a nearby petrol service station to seek help. Bozwana died in hospital later that day.

Pretoria News