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AKA murder — Eswatini court postpones extradition case against two suspects

AKA murder — Eswatini court postpones extradition case against two suspects
Brothers Siyabonga and Malusi Ndimande, who were arrested in Eswatini in connection with the murder of rapper Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes and his friend Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane, appeared in the Manzini Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 5 March 2024. (Photo: Twitter / @Nhlajules)

The four Ndimande brothers are among a group of seven suspects arrested in connection with the murder of award-winning South African hip-hop artist Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes and his manager and friend Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane. Two of the brothers are in custody in Eswatini, pending the finalisation of their extradition to SA.

The extradition case of brothers Siyabonga and Malusi Ndimande, who were arrested in Eswatini in connection with the murder of rapper Kiernan Forbes, known professionally as AKA, and his friend Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane, has been postponed to 12 March 2024.

The brothers made a brief appearance in the Magistrates’ Court for the district of Manzini in Eswatini on Tuesday morning, and were remanded into custody pending the filing of a formal extradition application.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 30 people die by the gun every day in SA – it’s time to stop the violence

Siyabonga and Malusi were arrested while hiding in a house in Eswatini on Saturday, 24 February, on criminal charges relating to the AKA case and others, police said last week.

They first appeared in the Manzini Magistrates’ Court last week, where extradition proceedings by South African authorities were adjourned to Tuesday, News24 reported.

On Tuesday, the defence lawyer requested a postponement, telling the court that he is yet to receive an application for extradition from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The state requested the brothers remain in custody pending the filing of the formal extradition application.

“Respondents [Siyabonga and Malusi], we have an application for you to remain in custody pending lodging of a formal extradition application by the request of [the] state. There is no objection to that application. So you are going to remain in custody until the 12th of March”, said Magistrate David Khumalo.

In response to a question from Daily Maverick, the NPA’s Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, Advocate Elaine Harrison, said: “The extradition documents are being attended to. There will be no further comments on the matter.

“The Extradition Act provides all the time limits, processes and procedures and the NPA will be acting accordingly.”

AKA (35) and Motsoane (41) were fatally shot on 10 February 2023 outside the restaurant Wish on Florida on Durban’s Florida Road.

The shooting was captured on CCTV footage published by TimesLIVE and widely circulated on social media. It showed Forbes and Motsoane leaving the restaurant when they were approached by two armed men, who crossed the street and shot them at close range.

AKA was an award-winning, bestselling South African hip-hop artist. Motsoane was an entrepreneur and celebrity chef. The murders attracted international attention, and police allocated top detectives to track down the killers and bring them to book.

Last week, Police Minister Bheki Cele and KZN provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi revealed that six people had been arrested in connection with the double murder — including the alleged mastermind. On Wednesday, 28 February, a seventh suspect was arrested.

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

Police had been tight-lipped on the investigation for over a year, but Mkhwanazi said law enforcement had started gathering evidence as far back as 6 March 2023, when they recovered a Mercedes-Benz that was allegedly used in the crime. The first arrest in the case was made on 22 April 2023.

The murders, police said, were a meticulously planned hit, with AKA ostensibly being the main target.

On Thursday, 29 February, five of the suspects made their first appearance in the Durban Magistrates’ Court.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Police top brass sit in at court as five suspects appear for murder of rapper AKA and Motsoane

Lindokuhle Mkhwanazi (30), Lindani Ndimande (35), Siyanda Myeza (21), Mziwethemba Gwabeni (36) and Lindokuhle Ndimande (29) appeared on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition and five counts of attempted murder.

The five suspects are expected to return to the Durban Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 6 March, for bail verification. DM

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