BHEKI, THULANI TO SPEND 7 DAYS IN JAIL
MBABANE – Nation Magazine Editor Bheki Makhubu and Lawyer Thulani Maseko will spend the next seven days in prison.
This comes after Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi yesterday remanded them in custody until Tuesday for their next remand. They yesterday made a brief appearance in the chambers of the Chief Justice in the presence of their lawyers.
Mandla Mkhwanazi, who is appearing for Maseko, said he was still to consult with him whether to file a bail application or not. Makhubu is represented by Ncamiso Manana.
The accused are currently kept at the Sidwashini Correctional facility pending their next court appearance. After their brief appearance they were taken away in a police van.
This will be Makhubu’s first day behind bars as he surrendered himself to the police yesterday while it will be the second day for Maseko. Maseko was arrested on Monday.
In the chambers only the accused, their lawyers and the Registrar were allowed and the contingent of police officers who were present remained outside.
Makhubu’s arrest comes after Chief Justice Ramodibedi issued a warrant of arrest against him and the Human Rights Lawyer Maseko on Monday. This is the second time for Makhubu to be slapped with similar charges.
The new contempt charges emanate from articles which the two wrote in the monthly magazine where they questioned the rationale behind the arrest of Chief Government Vehicle Inspector, Bhantshana Gwebu.
Gwebu was recently arrested and charged with contempt of court after he detained a driver of High Court Judge Esther Ota for an alleged abuse of a State car. The warrant of arrest for Gwebu was also issued by the Chief Justice.
The Nation Magazine editor was arrested yesterday morning after he surrendered himself at the Mbabane Police Station while Maseko was arrested on Monday while at his offices situated at the Swazi Plaza.
Makhubu and Maseko have been co- charged with contempt of court.
Other accused in this matter are Swaziland Independent Publishers and the Nation Magazine.
They have been slapped with two charges of contempt of court.
In the first count, it is alleged that during the month of February 2014 at or near Mbabane each and or all of them, acting in furtherance of a common purpose did unlawfully and intentionally violate and undermine the dignity, repute and authority of the High Court of Swaziland.
They are alleged to have issued and published malicious and contemptuous statements about the case of the State against Gwebu High Court Case No. 25/2014, a criminal matter currently pending before the High Court.
In the charge sheet it is alleged that the two compared the judicial officer who issued the warrant against Gwebu to Caiphus who led Jesus to his killers, alleged that the judicial officer ‘massaged’ the law to suit his own agenda, alleged that the judicial officer collaborated with ‘willing servants’ to break the law and that they falsely alleged that Gwebu was denied legal representation.
In the second count they are alleged to have, during the month of March 2014, unlawfully and intentionally undermined the repute and authority of the High Court of Swaziland in that they issued and published malicious and contemptuous statements about the case of King against Gwebu.
This time they are alleged to have stated that the arrest of Gwebu was a demonstration of ‘corrupt’ abuse of authority and lacking in moral authority or was a ‘demonstration of moral bankruptcy’, that the proceedings against Gwebu are a ‘travesty of justice’ and that the proceedings against Gwebu were aimed at settling personal scores and that the idea behind these proceedings was to ensure that he was ‘dealt with’.
Last year Makhubu was found guilty of contempt of court in respect of two editorial articles critisising the Supreme Court with statements directed at Chief Justice Ramodibedi. For these charges he was fined E200 000 or two years imprisonment, however, half the sentence was suspended. His lawyers filed an appeal which is still pending at the High Court. The articles appeared in the magazine’s November 2009 and January 2010 issues and had been written by Makhubu.
Well-wishers unable to see Makhubu, Maseko
MBABANE – People who had come to offer moral support to Nation Magazine Editor Bheki Makhubu and Lawyer Thulani Maseko were unable to see them at the High Court yesterday.
This was because the accused were made to use the entrance of the Industrial Court which is situated at the back of the High Court building and they also appeared in the chambers of the Chief Justice.
A number of people had gathered at the High Court to see the accused but they were disappointed after they were told by lawyer Mandla Mkhwanazi that the matter was heard in the chambers of the Chief Justice. He also informed them that the accused had already left the High Court after they were remanded in custody until Tuesday.
Immediately after their brief appearance in the chambers of the Chief Justice the accused were whisked away in a police van.
Some of those present to give moral support were Maseko’s wife Tanele, SNAT Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga, President of the proscribed People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Mario Masuku, Vincent Ncongwane, Human Rights Lawyer Sipho Gumedze and Human Rights activist Lomcebo Dlamini.