Panga-gang ringleader remains in custody

The Barberton Magistrate’s Court was packed since the start of the panga-gang case.

The case involving panga-gang ringleader, Mxolisi Velaphi Maseko (27), popularly known as Mjongeni , has been postponed until Monday for judgment on their bail application.Mjongeni and his two accomplices, Malibongwe Muraji (23) and Sifiso Phillip Thabethe (20), appeared in the Barberton Magistrate’s Court today (Friday).

Magistrate Thulisile Mthethwa remanded the trio in custody despite their legal representative, Martin Moropane’s arguments to have his clients released on bail.

Earlier Moropane told the court that the state had a weak case against his clients. “Earlier, the investigation officer, Const Mphikeleli Dhlamini, told the court that the applicants had been in jail since December 29 and that another panga attack had been reported in the meantime. I disagree that my clients are the ones who have been terrorising the community with pangas. The state will agree with me that every accused that appears before the court is presumed innocent until proven guilty and I have no reason to doubt that my clients are innocent. The state has no tangible evidence that they have been terrorising the community,” he said.

The three, who are all unemployed, told the state in affidavits in support of their bail that was read by Moropane, that they can each afford bail of R1 000.They have been remanded in custody pending their next court appearance on Monday, January 26.

Richard Nkosi

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