Family and friends of murdered teen Andile “Bobo” Mbuthu were left reeling in the Verulam magistrate’s court yesterday when they heard that his body may have been in the back of a bakkie owned by his cousin while the cousin and several other accused were partying.
The body of the 16-year-old,– who was initially reported missing after he was accused of stealing from a tavern and allegedly assaulted last month, was later found in a river near his Hambanathi home in Tongaat‚ north of Durban.
His cousin Mlungisi Thabethe‚ 28‚ who is also the owner of the tavern‚ was arrested for Mbuthu’s murder‚ along with Andile Nhleko‚ 27‚ Malusi Mthembu‚ 27‚ Mncedisi Mzobe‚ 27‚ Siyanda Msweli‚ 26‚ and Lindani Ndlovu‚ 22.
They appeared in the Verulam magistrate’s court yesterday for a third successive day of bail applications. A seventh accused‚ a minor‚ has already appeared before the magistrate’s court and abandoned his bail bid.
Prosecutor Krishen Shah put it to Thabethe – who was on the stand – that Mbuthu’s body was lying in the back of his bakkie while he and his coaccused were having a braai to celebrate his birthday.
The braai‚ Shah said‚ followed Mbuthu’s allegedly assault at the tavern after he was accused of stealing alcohol. Thabethe denied this but couldn’t explain how blood matching Mbuthu’s DNA was found in the back of his Toyota Hilux.
The court heard how the accused allegedly put Mbuthu’s body into a bag and tried to dump it into a nearby river‚ but then had to stuff the bag with bricks because it was floating.
The court also heard evidence from Nhleko‚ who claimed that he was assaulted by police in custody. The bail hearing continues today.
Community fight against bail approval
The tavern where the alleged killing took place was burned to the ground by furious community members in April, and residents have made it clear that they will fight tooth and nail to ensure that the accused are not granted bail.
The body found in the river was only confirmed to be that of Mbuthu weeks after its discovery, with DNA tests having confirmed the tragic news for the family, who laid the boy to rest over the weekend.
The matter will resume on Friday 5 May, when it is expected that a verdict will be handed down regarding the success or failure of the accused’s bail application.