Home | News | BACEDE, MTHANDENI OFFER E1M FOR FREEDOM

BACEDE, MTHANDENI OFFER E1M FOR FREEDOM

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

MBABANE – Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube yesterday offered to provide a combined E1 million on top of whatever amount the court may order them to pay as sureties, which is forfeitable.

Each of the Members of Parliament (MPs) is prepared to put up E500 000 surety from the pension that they are entitled to as MPs. This would be on top of any other sureties and payable cash that they may be ordered to provide for their release. Their representative, Advocate Mduduzi ‘Tsotsi’ Mabila, who was instructed by Sifiso Jele of SM Jele Attorneys, told the court during the hearing of their bail application yesterday that the money would be paid from the duo’s pension scheme in Parliament. Mabila said the Crown would not have a problem with that. However, when Mabila made this submission, Judge Mumcy Dlamini said the advocate was raising a new issue which was not canvassed in the papers filed in court in respect of the matter.

Deliberated

The issue of the pension was no longer deliberated upon any further. In the case of Maxwell Dlamini, which was decided in the Supreme Court, he paid E15 000 and had been charged for contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act and Subversive Activities Act. Mabuza and Dube have also been charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 as well as breaching COVID-19 regulations; the latter charge being faced by Mabuza alone. The Crown is opposed to Mabuza and Dube being granted bail on the basis that it claimed they were likely to disturb public order, undermine public peace, evade trial, interfere with Crown witnesses, commit similar offences and jeopardise public confidence in the justice system. Mabila said the Crown’s argument that nothing could prevent the two from selling their businesses and leaving the country to re-establish new lives outside Eswatini did not hold water. The advocate said the Crown did not bring facts to support their argument. He said the Crown made bare allegations.

“In the Crown’s papers, there is no flesh. It is just bones. Their flight risk allegation cannot stand. It falls away,” said the advocate. He further submitted that the two would not interfere with witnesses as claimed by the State. According to Mabila, it was strange that the accused persons had not been provided with a list and statements of witnesses by the Crown and wondered how they could possibly interfere with people they did not know.

Witnesses

The Crown, according to Mabila, said they would provide them with the list of witnesses during the pre-trial. “They do not know right now who the witnesses are.” Mabila informed the court that the State did not say that statements were recorded with people from Hosea and Ngwempisi. He said the Crown only made general statements that were not substantiated. “They are asking too much from the court. Nothing controverts the accused persons’ submissions in their bail application,” said Mabila. The Crown submitted in its papers that it had evidence in the form of videos and recordings to prove that the two committed the offences and that its case was watertight against the MPs. However, Mabila noted that bail hearings had been turned into trials. He said the strength of the case of the State was immaterial. He argued that the determining factors in bail were interest of justice to grant an accused person bail, an enquiry if they might flee or endanger public order.“Bail has nothing to do with the guilt or otherwise of an accused.” Judge Dlamini said: “Absolutely.”

Mabila said it was not stated what the video recordings showed and recordings contained.  He argued that if the Crown said it had a strong case and bail should not be granted on those basis, then no one would be granted bail. He also pointed out that Mabuza and Dube faced up to 15 years for allegedly contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008. He compared it to murder which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. “Hasn’t the court not granted persons accused of murder bail? 25 years is stiffer than 15 years. Why shouldn’t these two (MPs) not be granted bail?” asked Mabila. “The fact that they face the possibility of 15 years in prison cannot be held against them not to be granted bail.  As long as it is in the interest of justice to release them on bail, they should be granted bail. I won’t deal with the other charge (contravening the COVID-19 regulations) because a magistrate who is appointed today can deal with that.”

Submission

According to Mabila, the Crown’s submission that the MPs would endanger public safety if released and that certain officials are receiving death threats, could not stand. Mabila said Mabuza and Dube were in custody and had nothing to do with the alleged threats. He pointed out that the nature of the threats had not been mentioned. To release the pair, according to Mabila, would restore society’s confidence in the criminal justice system, unlike the Crown’s submission that the public would lose confidence in the justice system. “That is an absurd submission. Instead, society will have confidence in the justice system. Everyone will know that in Swaziland (Judge Dlamini corrected the advocate to say Eswatini) a person is not pre-convicted. Their release will boost the public’s confidence in the justice system.” Mabila said society, instead, expected the MPs to be punished if found guilty during trial.

Regarding the argument that Mabuza locked himself in his car for an hour and a half, Mabila said police would have used force to remove him from the car. He said, however, in his papers Mabuza told the court that he cooperated and the police were professional in their work. Mabila also pointed out that the Crown had the onus to prove that the two should not be granted bail. However, the Crown argued otherwise.  The advocate further said the court could enquire as to whether policing methods to ensure that they did not interfere with Crown witnesses if granted bail.

“You say the court should impose policing methods?” asked the judge. Mabila said in murder and other cases, the accused was granted bail and directed to find an alternative place of abode. To extradite an accused if granted bail, the Crown said its success rate was minimal. Mabila said in the case of Senzo Motsa, the Crown submitted that they would have caught Mosta since ‘we live in a global village despite that he surrendered himself’. The judge said she realised that the Crown was hot on his heels and he surrendered himself. Judgment in the matter has been reserved indefinitely.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

: Schools protests
Are the school protests a result of a lack of teachers or political unrest?