State is clutching at straws, ‘AKA’ accused tells court

Lindokuhle Mkhwanazi, Lindani Ndimande, Siyanda Myeza, Mziwethemba Gwabeni and Lindokuhle Ndimande will be back in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday for the continuation of their respective bail applications. | Doctor Ngcobo

Lindokuhle Mkhwanazi, Lindani Ndimande, Siyanda Myeza, Mziwethemba Gwabeni and Lindokuhle Ndimande will be back in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday for the continuation of their respective bail applications. | Doctor Ngcobo

Published Apr 7, 2024


Durban — An accused in the AKA and Tibz murder case has claimed the State is “clutching at straws” by relying on informers to pin charges on him, including his dabbling with muti.

Lindokuhle Thabani Mkhwanazi, 30, also intends bringing perjury and defeating the ends of justice charges against the investigating officer, saying he made a false submission to the court regarding a firearm licence.

Mkhwanazi was replying to the State’s opposition to his bail application, which continued at the Durban Magistrate’s Court this week.

Mkhwanazi also juxtaposed the affidavit of advocate Elaine Harrison, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in KwaZulu-Natal, in requesting the arrest of two alleged fugitives in eSwatini believed to be linked to this case, against that of Warrant Officer Kumarasan Pillay.

“It is clear the DPP’s affidavit is more objective, while the investigating officer’s is riddled with sweeping generalisation allegations gathered from informers who possibly rely on gossip and rumourmongers.”

Mkhwanazi said the detectives in the matter were desperate to link him to the offences.

He, along with Lindani Ndimande, 35, Siyanda Myeza, 21, Miziwethemba Gwabeni, 36, and Lindokuhle Lindo Ndimande, 29, face various charges, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

The charges relate to the killing of rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes and his friend Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane outside Wish Restaurant on Durban’s Florida Road on February 10, 2023.

The legal team representing Mkhwanazi and Lindokuhle Ndimande comprises advocate Simphiwe Mlotshwa, and attorneys Nyameko Jodwana, Avir Maharaj and Sbu Dlamini.

Mkhwanazi is out on bail in a separate murder matter where Pillay is also the investigating officer.

He said the State did not have proper grounds for opposing bail in this matter.

The State, however, cited concern about the safety of witnesses, and that the accused were flight risks.

He said a photo album of 25 images showing some of the accused posing with weapons, taken from a TikTok site, which was attached to the State’s opposing affidavit, made its way into the public domain. He believed it had resulted in the public passing judgment on the accused.

Some of the discrepancies between Harrison’s and Pillay’s affidavits, which he noted, included the DPP stating that AKA and his entourage were transported to Wish at 5.30pm from the Hilton Hotel, whereas Pillay said it happened at approximately 6.18pm. Harrison said AKA and Tibz exited the restaurant at about 10.10pm, whereas Pillay indicated 10.18pm.

He also raised the instance where Pillay placed Mkhwanazi with others at the scene of the murders in his affidavit, whereas Harrison didn’t.

Mkhwanazi said the only evidence linking him to the offence were the allegations of him driving a Polo car on the evening Myeza was shot (February 11, 2023), being in the vicinity of Gwabeni’s home and receiving payment of R133 000, for which he had an explanation.

“Those were three thin pieces of allegations against me.”

He said he was linked to those scenes via cellphone evidence, which Mkhwanazi said never gave exact locations. Therefore, he disputed such allegations.

Mkhwanazi said Pillay’s saying he found muti in the back seat of a car was “reckless”.

He said that while in custody, police assaulted and tortured him with the intention of obtaining a confession, and denied having any knowledge or association with a Mercedes-Benz mentioned in the State’s affidavit.

About the R800 300 deposited into Gwabeni’s account, Mkhwanazi said it was legitimate as the depositor also made other deposits before the one in question.

“The investigating officer has adopted a cherry-picking approach of ignoring the other deposits to de-emphasise the legitimacy of normal business transactions.”

Lindokuhle Ndimande endorsed the content of Mkhwanazi’s replying affidavit.

He said when police went to his homestead and got his mother to call him, they showed her a spot next to the kraal, which would be his grave if he did not hand himself over.

Ndimande denied ever entering eSwatini but admitted his virtual bank card was loaded on his phone and was used by one of the accused who had possession of the device.

The hearing continues.

Sunday Tribune