Advocate Gundo Lidovho (left), who respresents both Simon Radzuma and Ndivhuwo Radzuma, and Advocate Ntsko Hlongwane (right), who represents Percy Radzuma in the Limpopo High Court in Thohoyandou on Tuesday during the trial proceedings. Photo: Silas Nduvheni.
With the trial of the Radzuma brothers currently underway in the Limpopo High Court in Thohoyandou, one of the accused, Ndivhuwo Radzuma, announced on Tuesday, 17 October, that he had parted ways with his legal representative, Advocate Mpho Makhuvha, as he “no longer felt he could put his trust and confidence in Makhuvha to represent him in court”.
Ndivhuwo and his two brothers, Simon and Percy Radzuma, stand accused of the murder of the two South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) members from the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM), Timson Musetsho and Ronald Mani, in 2019.
Ndivhuwo will henceforth be represented by Advocate Gundo Lidovho, who also represents Simon, while Percy is represented by Advocate Ntsako Hlongwane.
On Tuesday, state witness Andrew Bongi Kotane, a VDM councillor, told the High Court that several instances of intimidation and death threats had taken place just hours before Musetsho, the former acting national president of SAMWU, was shot on the evening of 24 January 2019.
Kotane said that, earlier on that day, Musetsho had led a protest march at the VDM’s offices, complaining about the municipality’s illegal investment of R300 million into the now-defunct VBS bank, which he had felt should rather have been channelled into service delivery. According to Kotane, Musetsho and his union members had also complained about the involvement of VDM’s former executive mayor, Florence Radzilani (now MEC for Transport and Community Safety), in the VBS investment and had wanted her to step down from her position.
Kotane testified that, during the ANC’s electoral meeting held at the library auditorium later that same day, the VDM’s former acting manager of skills development, Mr Nthambeleni Mutoti, had allegedly showed his intense displeasure with Musetsho for his outspokenness. Kotane further testified that, before he was shot, Mutoti had grabbed Musetsho by his T-shirt and assaulted him with his fists, saying, “You [Musetsho] are saying bad things about me at work. You will pay for what you are doing”.
Kotane said they were shocked when, later that evening, they had heard that Musetsho had been shot and wounded at his home in Makwarela Extension and admitted to Tshilidzini Hospital.
Another state witness, Mr Thixedzwi Mamphiswana, who is a director at the Department of Transport and Community Safety, testified that he had visited Musetsho in the hospital before he had died, and that Musetsho had told him that “the VBS brigade has found him now”, meaning that some of the ANC politicians involved in the illegal VBS investments had organised his assassination. Mamphiswana said Musetsho had told him that someone with dreadlocks had shot him.
Mamphiswana was one of the SAMWU members who went into hiding in Polokwane soon after Musetsho and Mani were gunned down in separate incidents.
The trial is still ongoing.
Date:20 October 2023