Masiphumelele murder trial about to start — or is it?

Nearly two years after protests, community leader Lubabalo Vellem will soon have his day in court, but postponements continue

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Photo of a crowd
Lubabalo Vellem is lifted up by a crowd after he leaves court in November 2015. Photo: Thembela Ntongana

The trial of Lubabalo Vellem, who faces charges of attempted murder and murder, seems set to begin - but don’t hold your breath. It comes nearly two years after a number of Masiphumelele residents were arrested following a mob justice incident in 2015.

On Monday, Vellem made a brief appearance at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court, but the case was postponed to 28 June. The legal aid lawyer for Vellem and two of his co-accused, Vuyo Bushula and Sbusiso Brown, said he still needed to consult with his clients, something which was meant to have happened on 28 April.

Protests in 2015 to demand better policing were sparked by the rape and murder of a 14-year-old boy in his home. A man suspected of committing the crime was killed in mob justice. The community also embarked on an anti-drug campaign and suspected drug dealers were chased out of Masiphumelele.

GroundUp has reported on several postponements in the Vellem case. Previous postponements also involved the need to consult with his defence. In September 2016, Magistrate Karel Meyer said, “We can’t postpone this matter forever.”

Magistrate Melinda Retief is now presiding. 

TOPICS:  Masiphumelele

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