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Police top brass sit in at court as five suspects appear for murder of rapper AKA and Motsoane

Police top brass sit in at court as five suspects appear for murder of rapper AKA and Motsoane
(File picture)Suspects are asked to remove their masks during the AKA murder case at Durban Magistrate's Court on 29 February 2024. They face charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, among others. (Photo: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)..

Just more than a year ago, hip hop artist Kiernan Forbes (35), better known as AKA, and his friend Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane, were gunned down. The Magistrate’s Court in Durban was on high security alert on Thursday when five suspects made their first appearance, in connection with the double murder.

There was an extraordinarily huge presence of heavily armed police officers, many of them in uniform, but others in plainclothes, when five suspects appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 29 February.

AKA and Tibz Motsoane were fatally shot on 10 February 2023 outside a popular restaurant in Durban’s Florida Road. The killings attracted international attention and police brass had allocated top detectives to trace down the killers and bring them to book.

On Thursday morning, Lindokuhle Thakani, Lindani Ndimande, Eddie Myeza, Muzi Gwabeni and Lindo Ndimande appeared before Magistrate L Mkhwanazi, facing 10 charges including two charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and others.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Seven arrested, including alleged ‘mastermind’, for murder of rapper AKA – Police Minister Cele

Two other suspects were arrested in eSwatini last week, and South African and eSwatini officials are finalising extradition processes to get those two to join the five men in the dock.

Tony Forbes, father of the late AKA, shakes hand with the prosecutor during the murder case at Durban Magistrate’s Court on 29 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

Case postponed

The case was postponed to Wednesday, 6 March to verify the residential addresses of all the accused, and the matter will be postponed further for bail hearings.

There was a huge police presence at court, and inside and outside court there was a list of personalities. Minister of Police Bheki Cele, and SAPS KZN Provincial head Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi sat alongside AKA’s father Tony Forbes, who had been saying his family would never find peace until the killers of his son had been found.

Forbes was wearing a black T-shirt with the words “Long Live Supamega, Long Live” and had two body-minders guarding him inside the court building, with other armed men outside.

The five accused entered the court wearing masks and hoods hiding their faces, but shortly after a quick adjournment to speak to the legal counsel in his chambers, Magistrate Mkhwanazi ordered them to expose their faces, saying “this is an open court” and there was “no need to hide themselves”.

SA Police Minister Bheki Cele, KZN police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and AKA’s father Tony Forbes watch as suspects leave Durban Magistrate’s Court. (Photo: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

Suspects’ arrests

The suspects were arrested after police detectives traced the suspects through their movements, bank accounts and methods. Two of the suspects were found by the eSwatini authorities in a hideout in that country after entering illegally.

Cele (Police Minister) said the police had been working hard behind the scenes to apprehend the suspects.

“I spoke to the Minister of Justice (Ronald Lamola) yesterday (about the extradition process). We don’t expect many hiccups. We know the ministers there (in eSwatini), we don’t expect any problem,” Cele said.

One of Africa’s best – South African rapper AKA leaves a legacy of iconic music

In events leading up to AKA’s assassination, on Sunday, 11 April 2021, AKA’s fiancé 22-year-old Anele Tembe fell to her death from the 10th floor of the upmarket Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town. She was with AKA at the time but her death was recorded as suicide. The NPA did not prosecute anyone for her death, much to Tembe’s family dissatisfaction.

KZN police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Tony Forbes, father of AKA, during the murder case on 29 February 2024. (Photo: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart).

Wrong place, wrong time

Detectives working on the current case believe that Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and it was AKA that the killers were targeting, having followed him from the airport all the way to Florida Road, where the killings took place.

Tony Forbes (AKA’s father) told Daily Maverick that his family will sleep easier now that the alleged killers are being brought before court.

“The police were updating and they said they were working hard on the case. But until now it was hard for us to believe. At least now I have had a look at the suspects, the people who pulled the trigger to kill my son, I am partially at ease. But this is only the beginning, the bottom of the pyramid. I don’t believe that all the suspects, including the mastermind behind these murders, have been apprehended. I still expect more.”

He added: “I don’t know why my son was killed. It could be that he was killed for any other thing. But we are hopeful that the court processes will unravel what really happened because we have been hearing so many stories, including those about people being paid huge amounts of money and sharing with other suspects. It is still murky.”

Yolanda Gielink, a lawyer representing Myeza (accused number 3) and Ndimande (accused number 5), said there is still a long process ahead before the trial begins. “The next appearance will only be for the verification of the address of the suspects. Then they would begin the bail hearing process,” she said. DM



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mkulu Zulu says:

    It is to be noted the origin of the Surnames of the accused.
    They are all from one tribe!

  • Pieter van de Venter says:

    Why is Cele & co not fixing their hovel in Pretoria CBD?? Strange how much better things worked when it was called Vermeulen street?

  • Michael Coleman says:

    And these important(?) people are all visible at one hiphoppers murder trial, but none at the inquest (still incomplete) of 21 young people at Enyabeni tavern. Is there an election soon?

  • Iam Fedup says:

    The top brass should themselves been in the dock. Let’s hope the prosecutor doesn’t fluff this one up.

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