Bail denied for the killers of Mabaso

7 September 2022
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Bail denied for the killers of Mabaso

Yesterday, 6 September 2022, the bail application of Samson Ngubane and his brother Mhlanganyelwa John Ngubane, the two priests accused of killing Nokuthula Mabaso, was denied at the Durban Magistrates Court. The magistrate also denied an application to appeal the judgement in the bail application. 

In the context of systemic impunity for the assassination of activists this is a major step forward. It is an important step towards what we hope will be a larger victory for justice and for all activists across the country who are facing repression and attacks from the ruling party and the state.

Mabaso was killed in May this year when she was due to be a witness in the bail hearing of the person arrested for the murderer of Ayanda Ngila who was killed in March. Ngila was the deputy chairperson of eKhenana Commune. Lindokuhle Mnguni the chairperson of the commune was killed in the early hours of the morning on 20 August.

The reason for the killing of activists in eKhenana is clear. The murders come from those who want to destroy the commune so that the land can be used for the benefit of the local elite in the ANC. They want to sell land, rent shacks and get tenders to build flats and other infrastructure.

As we have noted in previous statements the KwaKito (Cato Manor) police have acted as an armed wing of the local ANC thugs, and there have been clear signs of the capture of the wider criminal justice system too, including in the prosecuting authority.

Many police officers act as if they work for the ANC. We have seen this once more in the case of the murder of our leader Lindokuhle Mnguni. We have irrefutable evidence about this murder, evidence that should lead to arrests and successful prosecution. However, the police have not come to collect that evidence. The police that we have dealt with are just not interested in investigating the case.

Along with the silence of Cyril Ramaphosa and Bheki Cele, as well as many other leaders and forces in society, this is further proof that for many the impoverished and marginalised can be killed with impunity under this government.

We have concluded that we do not have a police minister in this country and that the current minister is the minister of the elite not the poor. Those who are politically connected, their cases are investigated and prosecuted. Those who are organised outside of the ANC, and who struggle against the ANC for the full recognition of human dignity – for land, housing, decent education and health care, for the full equality of women, for an end to xenophobia and for real democracy – can be killed like animals.

However, there are a few good and brave people left in the criminal justice system, people who work for justice rather than the ANC. With sustained pressure on the system generated from organising these people can be supported and empowered to make break throughs. This is how a conviction was eventually secured for the police murder of Nqobile Nzuza in Cato Manor in 2013. It is also how conviction of two ANC councillors for the 2014 murder our leader Thuli Ndlovu in KwaNdengezi was secured.

With sustained pressure from organising, and solidarity from our comrades in South Africa and around the world, as well as the tireless work of our brave and excellent lawyer Mbali Khubheka, arrests have been secured for the murders of Ayanda Ngila and Nokuthula Mabaso. We will keep pushing for arrests to be secured for the murder of Lindokuhle Mnguni.

It is very worrying that the killer of Ayanda Ngila continues to communicate with people outside of the prison via video calls. There is a video that shows Khaya Ngubane, who is awaiting trial after being arrested for the assassination of Ayanda Ngila, in a conversation with his sister Ntokozo Ngubane.

This is a real concern as there are witnesses that will be before court, testifying against this person. One of the witnesses of this murder was Nokuthula Mabaso who was killed the day before the appearance of the accused in court.

The leadership of the movement, as well as our lawyer Mbali Khubheka, have been receiving threats from the Ngubane family.

It is worrying that those who kill activists continue to have access to video calls from prison when they could be ordering further killings. This says something about our justice system. It is rotten to the core.

We will continue to struggle to ensure that there is justice for every member of our movement who is murdered by the police or the izinkabi. We thank all our comrades for their solidarity.


Thapelo Mohapi 084 576 5117
Snenhlanhla Mncanyana 073 832 3331
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274