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The three suspects, Maanda Mukhotho Shumani Mathews, Mundalamo and Norman Siebathavha, who were added to the charge sheet appeared for the first time in court on Tuesday this week.  Photo: Victor Mukwevho Ne-vumbani.

Stop threatening the media, suspects warned

 

One of the eight suspects arrested for allegedly burning down a nine-room house in Matangari village last year has been warned by the court to stop threatening members of the media covering the case.

The suspects appeared before the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday afternoon. The magistrate’s warning followed after the state prosecutor,  advocate Ndwakhulu Managa, informed the court that it had come to his attention that one of the accused, Norman Siebathavha, was threatening the media reporters.

“May the court warn him to stop threatening the media as the public has the right to know what happens in our courts,” he said. Managa also asked the court to warn Siebathavha that if he continued to threaten the media, the state might revoke his bail. Magistrate NC Ramahuma warned Siebathavha that he should refrain from intimidating members of the media who were merely doing their job. “You are warned to stop threatening the media with immediate effect,” said the magistrate.

Five suspects - Tshiphiri Daba, Rolivhuwa Mukhotho, Orifha Mukhotho, Thivhusiwi Musandiwa, and Mashudu Mphaphuli - appeared briefly in court on 30 October this year. However, the case was postponed to 21 November for the state to add the names of three more suspects, namely Norman Siebathavha, Maanda Mukhotho, and Shumani Mathews Mundalamo, to the charge sheet.

The eight suspects are alleged to be part of a mob that went to the house of Mr Mmbetsheleni Daba on 6 September 2022, right after they had attended a meeting with their traditional leader and the royal council. They allegedly started breaking all the windows before setting the house on fire, which burnt to the ground.

The exact details of what had been discussed during the meeting at the royal house are not known, but the actions of the community members that followed seemed to be in response to the rape of a 26-year-old woman the previous week. The woman was allegedly raped by an illegal immigrant from Zimbabwe, who was beaten to death by an angry crowd a week later. Daba was accused of harbouring the Zimbabwean national.

Daba was apparently at home when the attack on his home started but miraculously escaped the inferno. Community members who witnessed the incident said the police had been informed of the crowd’s intentions to burn the house down but had done nothing.

 

News - Date: 23 November 2023

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Victor Mukwevho

Victor Mukwevho Ne-vumbani joined the Mirror during it's inception in 1990. He joined the SABC newsroom in 1995, and was known by  listeners as "A u fhedzisela ari". He was a news editor for The Tembisan Newspaper from 2007 to 2015. He rejoined the Limpopo Mirror newspaper in June 2022 as a freelance journalist.

Email: [email protected]

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