Fort Hare University killings: Court denies three of five suspects bail | The Citizen

Fort Hare University killings: Court denies three of five suspects bail | The Citizen

Fort Hare University killings: Court denies three of five suspects bail | The Citizen

Three of the five men accused of killing two University of Fort Hare (UFH) employees will remain behind bars after they were denied bail.

The accused appeared at the Dimbaza Magistrate’s Court in Eastern Cape on Monday in connection with the murders of UFH fleet manager Petrus Roets and vice-chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu’s bodyguard, Mboneli Vesele.

The suspects are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, fraud and corruption. Two of the five men are also facing additional charges related to the possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Bail hearing

The court dismissed the bail application of three suspects, Sicelo Mbulawa, Mthobisi Khanyile and Mthobisi Dlamini Zondo, on the basis that the defence failed to persuade the magistrate on why they should be released from custody.

The other two accused, Bongani Peter and Wanini Khuza, previously abandoned their bail bid.

Last month, the court heard how a R5 million reward was allegedly offered to assassinate Buhlungu.

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The UFH vice-chancellor has been targeted after the university started clamping down on corruption.

It was also revealed that R3 million was offered to kill Buhlungu’s deputy, Professor Renuka Vithal.

The state further alleged that the hitmen pocketed R350 000 for killing Roets, who was shot dead near his home in Gonubie in May 2022 on his way home from the university’s Alice campus.

Vesele was killed on 6 January this year.

SIU probe

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is currently investigating allegations of corruption and maladministration at the university,

The investigation, which was authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa in August last year, is focusing particularly on four tender contracts and the awarding of post-graduate degrees for personal gain.

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has since approached the Bhisho High Court, challenging the SIU’s investigation pertaining to him.

READ MORE: Fort Hare university to oppose application to thwart SIU investigation

Mabuyane had initially intended to ask the high court to declare Ramaphosa’s request for the SIU investigation unlawful and invalid.

However, he recently amended his court papers and now only intends to interdict the SIU from investigating him specifically.

The university deregistered Mabuyane in 2021 on allegations the premier was registered irregularly by controversial Professor Edwin Ijeoma for a Master’s degree despite only having a BCom degree.

Additional reporting Cornelia Le Roux, Vhahangwele Nemakonde and Thapelo Lekabe