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Polokwane man accused of ordering hit on wife will remain in jail after trial postponed

From right: Thabo Leshabane, Mbekezi Butheledzi, John Zulu, Sfiso Bhekinhlezo, and Emanuel Dlamini.

The case against a man alleged to have hired hitmen to kill his wife and her friend is yet to be finalised.The State told the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court it would need more time, but defence lawyers argued that the accused were ‘serving a sentence’ in custody.Stanley Leshabane and his co-accused were denied bail and have been in custody since the end of last year.

The case against a Limpopo man accused of ordering a hit on his wife and her friend has yet to be finalised, with defence lawyers arguing against further postponements because the accused has been in custody for a while.

Thabo Stanley Leshabane, 57, is alleged to have hired hitmen to kill his 46-year-old wife Makoena Mabusela-Leshabane. She was shot dead together with her friend Tebogo Mphuti, 35, after viewing a business property in Polokwane on 10 October 2020.

Leshabane appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Thursday with his co-accused believed to be the “hitmen” – Ndondo Buthelezi, 25, John Zulu, 30, Bhekimuzi Phiyose, 34, and Thembelani Dlamini, 30.

Their lawyers argued against the State’s submission that the case be postponed for three months for further police investigation.

Forensic tests, post-mortem results and cellphone data still need to be finalised, and there was a backlog.

READ | Polokwane hit: Cellphone data links alleged hit men to murder scene of businesswoman

The defence lawyers said their clients, who were all denied bail, had been in custody for a long time now and “it seems they are serving a sentence”.

They asked Magistrate Prakash Maharaj to mark the postponement as “final”.

Maharaj said he would not do this, but told the State to speedily obtain everything it needed.

The case was postponed to 17 May.

Leshabane was arrested on 23 October 2020. It emerged during the bail application that he “admitted” to the crime and had also tried to commit suicide.

It also emerged that his co-accused made statements apparently implicating each other in the crime. 

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