Times of Eswatini
Mthandeni, Bacede trial to be delayed
MBABANE - The trial of incarcerated Members of Parliament (MPs) Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza of Hosea and Mthandeni Dube of Ngwempisi, will reportedly no longer take place as scheduled as it is likely to be delayed.
The trial had been scheduled for 11 to 15 October 2021.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Sandile Phila Dlamini, has written to the registrar of the High Court to inform her that the State’s representative, Advocate Gareth Leppan, will not be available on the set dates. In the memorandum dated September 20, 2021, the DPP said Advocate Lepppan would be available from November 30 to December 2, 2021.
The DPP requested the registrar to bring the information to the attention of Judge Mumcy Dlamini so that she could give further direction. According to the DPP, Advocate Leppan has already communicated with the defence’s advocate, also from South Africa, that he would not be available on the set dates.
“May I bring to your office’s attention that our senior counsel has indicated that the suggested dates are not suitable for him. He will be available from November 30, 2021 to December 2, 2021. He further communicated the above dates to the defence senior counsel,” reads the memorandum addressed to the High Court registrar.
The advocate will appear in the trial alongside Principal Crown Counsel Macebo Nxumalo and Absalom Makhanya.
Last month, a confidential correspondence from Advocate Leppan went viral on social media. In the correspondence, the State advocate was giving the DPP his opinion on the matter.
The advocate raised concerns in the correspondence, which he advised the DPP to address for the case to succeed. Advocate Leppan raised 12 points for the DPP to look into regarding the matter. The advocate also pointed out that he was owed by the State for his services. In total, according to the correspondence, Advocate Leppan alleged that he was owed a sum of E138 320 and two of the three outstanding fee notes dated back to early May 2021.
In the correspondence, he stated that Principal Crown Counsel Thabo Dlamini, who instructed him in previous matters, had suggested meeting with the accountant general in order to come to an arrangement where his fee notes would be dealt with timeously.
In their initial bail application, the two MPs were represented by Advocate Mduduzi ‘Tsotsi’ Mabila, who was instructed by Sifiso ‘Charlie’ Jele.
The application was before Judge Mumcy Dlamini who dismissed it on the basis that the accused persons made bare denials.
On September 15, 2021, Judge Dlamini again dismissed their second bail application on the basic that the High Court was now precluded from entertaining same.
The duo has now filed an urgent bail application at the Supreme Court
In motivating their bail application in the Supreme Court, their lawyer Thulani Maseko argued that it was imperative that the duo should be release on bail so that they could be able to continue to perform their representative and oversight role over the arms of government.
“It seems the charges levelled against them are misguided, misinformed and misplaced. There is no offence of incitement under the Suppression of Terrorism Act, 2008 as amended,” submitted Maseko.
The human rights lawyer told the court that his view was informed by careful perusal and reading of all the statements of witnesses furnished to the defence by the prosecution.
“What is more is that it is not clear what acts of terrorism, if any, it is alleged that the applicants (Mabuza and Dube) committed or incited people to commit and how they did so ,” argued Maseko. The bail application, which is now the third one, is still pending at the Supreme Court.