Murder, intimidation cases in VBS saga postponed to September, dockets handed to DPP

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The Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo has heard that two murder dockets and one of intimidation in the case related to the VBS Mutual Bank saga have been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for a decision.

The cases against 27-year-old Thabo Sibanze were postponed to the 30th of September to give the DPP enough time to decide whether to prosecute.

The cases against eSwatini national, Sibanze were heard in absentia as he was not brought to court for his 12th appearance, due to the national lockdown.

State prosecutor, Mashudu Nekhumbe made an application that the matter be postponed for at least three months to give the DPP enough time to decide on the cases. She said three dockets, two of murder and one of intimidation were submitted to the DPP last month.

The murder dockets are in connection with the killing of two Samwu leaders in the Vhembe district municipality, Ronald Mani and Timson Musetsho.

They were killed in separate incidents last year. They were against a decision by the Vhembe District Municipality to deposit funds into the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank. The intimidation charge is related to threatening messages Sibanze allegedly sent to South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) leaders who were critical of the municipality’s investment in VBS.

Nekhumbe told the court that the DPP might take time to decide because the region will first consult with the provincial office for an opinion as the matter is high profile. The court then granted a four-month postponement.

Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration Movement, Reverend Tshenuwani Farisani, who has been following the cases, is concerned that they are taking too long to be resolved.

“We understand the postponement, but that doesn’t mean we accept the slow pace of the case and people are complaining that the justice wheels are moving slowly. They shall not surrender until justice is done and seen to be done in the case of the slaughter of the leadership of the people,” says Farisani.

Sibanze has been in police custody since his arrest last year in March. He was initially charged for intimidation only. The murder charge against Sibanze was added last year in December after police said he was positively linked with the murder of Mani.

Mani’s killing came a few weeks after Timson Musetsho was shot. Sibanze has not been charged with Musetsho’s killing, and no one has been arrested yet in the case.