Murder accused was enraged the night he shot Mluleki Mbewana, court told
Jonas George Tsautse, 30, who appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s Court for a bail application on Tuesday, is facing a charge of murder after he allegedly gunned down 32-year-old Mluleki Mbewana outside a Durban nightclub last month.
The prosecuting authority had initially charged Tsautse with murder under schedule five and firing a gun in a crowded public area, but on Tuesday the murder charge was upgraded to schedule six, which carries a life sentence.
They also added another charge of being in possession of an illegal firearm.
In an affidavit, investigating officer Captain Njabulo Thabethe told magistrate Melanie de Jager that the accused was not trustworthy and was a flight risk.
Prosecutor Nhlanhla Shange read the statement to a packed courtroom on Tuesday.
It was also revealed that Tsautse had evaded bail on a charge of reckless driving which he allegedly committed in Sandton. The warrant of arrest against him for this crime was revealed to the court by his lawyer, advocate Sydney Albert.
Albert said that if Tsautse was granted bail on the murder charge, he intended to go to the Randburg Magistrate’s Court for the earlier case.
Tsautse allegedly shot Mbewana, a civil engineer at the King Cetshwayo District Municipality, outside the Rich Durban nightclub in Umgeni Business Park.
Nine witnesses pointed him out during an identity parade. The State is also in possession of CCTV footage.
In his affidavit, Thabethe said Tsautse angry when he fired several shots, two of which hit Mbewana in the chest.
He said the incident happened at 11.45pm, soon after the nightclub closed for the night.
He said Mbewana was inside his BMW X4 when an enraged Tsautse banged the car and another VW Polo which belonged to Mbewana’s friend.
He said when Mbewana protested, the accused asked, “What are you going to do about it?”
“The applicant (Tsautse) then accused the ladies on the back seat of Mluleki’s car of leaving with other men after having consumed his alcohol,” read the affidavit, which described Tsautse as a rich man who was known at the club to spend lots of money on expensive alcohol.
Thabethe said during the investigation he established that Tsautse would only occupy the Moët table, which the club allocated to rich patrons.
Tsautse apparently shared the table with the women, buying expensive bottles of champagne.
The women later joined Mbewana and his friends as they were leaving and planned to move to another venue.
“When the applicant was arguing with Mbewana, security guards tried to calm him down but he went to one of his (Tsautse) friends demanding a key to his Mercedes-Benz so that he could get a firearm.
“When his friend refused to give him the keys and instead also tried to calm him down, the applicant punched his friend in the face who then fell on the ground. The applicant then grabbed the keys to open the car to get the firearm,” read the affidavit.
With the firearm in his hand, Tsautse allegedly fired two shots in the air while walking towards Mbewana’s car, where he shot him twice in the upper body, the affidavit said. He then walked back to his car while continuing to fire shots randomly, which forced other people to dive for cover. While he was driving away he allegedly continued firing shots until he disappeared.
While Mbewana was taken to St Augustine’s Hospital where he died on arrival.
On the same night, Tsautse drove to Johannesburg where he stayed until his lawyers accompanied him to Sydenham police station for the arrest on October 6, 13 days after the murder.
The court heard that Tsautse owns multiple businesses, including an investment company which is involved in Forex Exchange. He also owns hair salons, has a livestock farming business and owns two taverns.
However, his water supply tender was his main source of income in KwaZulu-Natal.
He said this business earned him R100 000 a month and that through it, 20 families were taken care of because it provided employment.
He argued that his prolonged imprisonment would compromise this business, which required his personal supervision.
The court heard that Tsautse also rents two properties in Kloof and pays rent of R40 000 for another property in Sandton.
He had also recently bought a white Rolls Royce sedan from an upmarket car dealer in Hillcrest on September 1.
The State also revealed that Tsautse had two fiancées, one a school teacher and another who runs a salon.
Tsautse said he could only afford to pay R20 000 for bail.
The case continues on Friday.