Pretoria - There is not a shred of evidence against controversial Mamelodi businessman Vusi “Khekhe” Mathibela to link him to the assassination of billionaire businessman Wandile Bozwana, he contends.
Bozwana was gunned down on the N1 highway in 2015.
Mathibela, dubbed Mamelodi’s No 1 Tsotsi, along with his three co-accused Sipho Hudla, Matamela Robert Mutapa and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo, yesterday asked the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to clear them of all charges relating to Bozwana’s killing and the attempted murder of his business partner Mpho Baloyi.
The state has closed its case in the marathon trial which has been ongoing for more than three years.
The four are supposed to begin stating their case, but they have brought an application for their discharge in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal procedure Act.
This means that they want the court to find that there is no evidence linking them to the Bozwana incident, thus they should be acquitted before they present their defence.
If Judge Papi Mosopa agreed with them, the four could be free by May 21, when judgment will be delivered regarding their application.
Bozwana was shot seven times after one gunman fired several times at him while he was a passenger in Baloyi’s car. Another gunman opened fire at her, but the wounded woman managed to drive off and obtain help at a nearby glass fit outlet.
Bozwana died shortly afterwards in the Unitas Hospital.
The trial in the high court kicked-off in 2018 when a large screen was erected in court to display CCTV footage of evidence.
This captured the movements of Bozwana and Baloyi that day in Sandton City mall when they went to a shoe store to buy a belt for Bozwana and visited a hair and nail salon, where each had a manicure and pedicure.
It is claimed that they were then followed to McDonald’s restaurant in Rivonia Road, before they headed back to Pretoria.
Most of the evidence presented by the State revolved around circumstantial evidence, coupled with the evidence of cellphone experts who tried to link the phones of the accused to each other and to the scene that day.
Judge Masopa was told that there were no witnesses, nor DNA evidence found on the scene.
Apart from circumstantial evidence, the prosecution relied on so-called confessions made by some of the accused, especially that of Hudla.
He claimed he was forced to confess to something he knew nothing about. In his “confession” he described how they received instructions and money from Mathibela to follow and later kill Bozwana.
While the court, after a lengthy trial-within-a trial, admitted the confession as evidence, counsel for all four accused said as the judge could now see that the state’s evidence did not support what is said in the “confession”, he should discard it as lies made under duress.
Advocate Gerhard Botha SC, on behalf of Mathibela, said this was a peculiar case, where his greatest challenge was to see where his client’s name was mentioned during the evidence, as it was so little.
“My client should be acquitted, as it is as clear as daylight that the State only initiated his prosecution in the hope that somebody may connect him (to the crime),” Botha said.
He added that it was a “scandalous state of affairs”.
He argued that apart from Hudla’s so-called confession, there was no evidence against Mathebula.
A cellphone expert found that Mathibela and one of the accused spoke to each other, but this was about three weeks after Bozwana’s killing.
Counsel for the other three accused argued along the same lines.
Advocate JP Gouws, acting for Hudla, said in his confession, he said the shooting took place at the Rigel offramp of the N1, far from the actual incident at the Garsfontein offramp.
This proved that he knew nothing about the incident when he made the confession, Marais said.
Prosecutor Jennifer Cronje asked the court to order the accused to see their trial to the end and to present their defences.
She said the circumstantial evidence, coupled with the cellphone evidence and the confessions of some of the accused, were enough to point to their guilt.
Regarding Mathibela, she said his cellphone records showed he was at Sandton City at the time when Bozwana and Baloyi were there, and cellphone evidence placed him in the vicinity of the crime scene shortly after the shooting.
She said the evidence against him should not be evaluated in isolation.