The accused, 44-year-old Sergeant Nditsheni. Photo: Elmon Tshikhudo.
Angry Makwarela residents protested outside the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 29 November, during the appearance of the police officer who had allegedly shot his landlord at his rental place in the Makwarela Township on the evening of Monday, 20 November.
The accused, 44-year-old Sergeant Nditsheni Lefty Mphephu, who was attached to the POPS in Thohoyandou, allegedly shot Mr. Teith Muthige several times in the stomach and upper body, following an altercation over the loud music the police officer was playing in his car while students were studying for their final examinations.
After the shooting, Mphephu fled to his home village in Vuwani. He was arrested in Vuwani on Tuesday, 21 November. When he first appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court that same day, he was initially charged with attempted murder and was remanded in custody. The charge, however, changed to murder after Muthige had died from his injuries. His case was postponed to 29 February 2024 for further investigation.
During his appearance on Wednesday, a large number of angry Makwarela residents, waving placards with messages against the granting of bail to the suspect, sang and protested outside the court premises. Before their gathering at the court, they met at the Viva Garage at Makwarela where, in a show of solidarity, they signed a roll-call register.
Community leader Mr Phanuel Mulaudzi said the community was touched and highly disturbed by the murder of Muthige. He described the late Muthige as an agent of development as he had died while fighting for the rights of the students who were being disturbed by a peace officer while preparing for their examinations. “We are here to tell this court not to grant him bail. He does not qualify to be out and must be kept in custody until the finalisation of his case. As a community, we will feel offended and not safe if he is to be released on bail,” he said.
Mphephu was represented by attorney Thabeli Muthevhuli of Kern, Dekker, and Muthevhuli Attorneys.
Date:01 December 2023
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019.