Pretoria – The feared man dubbed Mamelodi’s “Number 1 Tsotsi”, Vusi “Khekhe” Mathibela may be a step closer to be freed from jail after charges of extortion were recently withdrawn against him in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.
Mathibela is in jail after the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria withdrew his R50 000 bail and forfeited it to the State, after it was found he had contravened his bail conditions.
It was claimed that he, among others, intimidated witnesses in his murder trial and extorted from business owners in Mamelodi.
Mathibela is facing an array of charges regarding the 2015 killing of billionaire businessman Wandile Bozwana and the attempted murder of his business partner Mpho Baloyi.
They were gunned down in their car at the Garsfontein offramp. Bozwana died shortly afterwards, while Baloyi managed to drive further and obtained help.
This trial is earmarked to proceed on July 21 and the State is still in the process of presenting their case in this lengthy trial. The extortion charges were meanwhile also withdrawn in the lower court against his two co-accused, Elias Skosana and Stemmer Monageng.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed to the Pretoria News the extortion and intimidation charges were withdrawn as the witnesses in that case refused to co-operate.
“This is as the security company filed an affidavit that they no longer wish to proceed and the main witness has not been co-operating,” she said.
Judge Bert Bam last year ordered that Mathibela’s bail in the Bozwana case be withdrawn after it was found he violated some of the conditions, including that he used his passport to holiday in Mauritius while on bail.
He was on the brink of leaving for yet another holiday in Dubai, when he was arrested at the OR Tambo International Airport a year ago.
According to Mathibela. he did hand in his passport to the investigating officer when he was released on bail. He said the officer returned his passport to him when he indicated he wanted to travel abroad.
This was denied by the officer. It is not clear how he got hold of his passport, but the court heard that when he had returned from Mauritius, he kept his passport and locked it up in a safe deposit box at a luxury Johannesburg hotel.
It was later, after his arrest last year, retrieved by the police. His bail conditions at the time clearly stipulated he had to hand in his passport with the investigating officer.
He lost his bid for leave to appeal against the withdrawal of his bail, as well as his challenge to the constitutionality of the Criminal Procedure Act which allows courts to revoke the bail of defendants.
His legal team has now referred his plight to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The SCA must still indicate whether it will grant his application for leave to appeal before the appeal can be heard.
Another application launched by Mathibela last year to have his arrest on the extortion, assault and intimidation charges declared unlawful, failed at the time.
His legal team argued in that case the police had no evidence linking him with these charges, which included that he allegedly ran an extortion ring in Mamelodi.
By Zelda Venter