Three of the six men charged with the murder and kidnapping of Tongaat teenager Andile ‘Bobo’ Mbuthu say that the police tortured them and forced them to admit to the charges.

In sworn affidavits in their bail application in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court, three of the accused say the police forced them to sign statements.

Mbuthu (17), was last seen by his family on April 28, 2020, at the tavern Magagula Lounge in the Hambanathi area. His body was found ten days later in a river.

Three of the six accused, who works at Magagula Lounge, also say police forced them to implicate tavern owner Mlungisi Thabethe in the death of the 17-year-old. 

In sworn affidavits that have been handed in during their bail application, they confirm that Mbuthu was at the tavern on April 28, 2020.

Mncedisi Mzobe, Siyanda Msweli and Linda Ndlovu say they were forced by police to sign statements, however, the state previously told the Verulam Magistrate’s Court that DNA evidence will show that Mbuthu’s lifeless body was lying in the back of Thabethe’s double-cab bakkie while he and his employees celebrated his birthday.

According to the State, all the accused were present at the time.

The court has heard that Mbuthu’s body was later burnt and put in a bag before it was dumped in a river.

The three have asked the court to be released on bail because they say they are in danger of contracting COVID-19 in the overcrowded Westville prison.

In the video below, accused Mlungisi Thabethe appears in court: 

Last week, the court heard that Thabethe had close links with local police officers in the area.

The State also said that Thabethe had not been completely truthful in his evidence, because he did not tell the court about all his businesses.

State Advocate Krishen Shah said there was ongoing communication between Thabethe and local police officers while Mbuthu’s disappearance was being investigated and that he allegedly met police officers away from the police station.

Mbuthu’s family eventually went to see the Provincial Police Commissioner about the lack of progress in the investigation.

His body was recovered from a local river after the Provincial Head of Detectives was put in charge of the investigation.

The bail application continues.