Taxi driver accused of killing partner appears in court

The murder case of a taxi driver accused of allegedly shooting and killing his 32-year-old partner last week, has been postponed to Tuesday, the 18th of May for a formal bail application and to allow availability of his attorney. His attorney did not attend the first appearance, for unknown reasons.

Kibi Josias Lebogo, 34, appeared before the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court yesterday charged with murdering Tshepo Rakoma, who was the mother of his three children, and the unlawful position of a firearm. He was arrested last Thursday after he allegedly sprayed Rakoma’s car with bullets. She was sitting having lunch in a parking lot of a shopping centre in the Polokwane CBD.

He later climbed to the top of a nearby building, threatening to commit suicide, but police negotiators convinced him otherwise and arrested him. The incident has sparked a public outcry and brought back into the spotlight the countrywide battle against gender-based violence.

Appearing in the dock, Lebogo looked relaxed in fresh clothing, but he kept gazing at and waving at the gallery where some of his friends and colleagues, including his elder brother, Inter Lebogo, were sitting to support him.

Presiding magistrate Janine Ungerer did not ask the accused to plead, but instead told him that his case would be postponed to the 18th. She also told Lebogo to tell his attorney to come back to court.

In a turn of events, another suspect allegedly connected with the case appeared before Lebogo. Khasamola Stephen Mathebula, 55, is alleged to be the licence holder of the gun used at the murder scene.

The province’s National Prosecution Authority spokesperson, Mashudu Malabi-Nzhangi, said that the two suspects were charged separately.

“They have two separate dockets. Lebogo will appear again on May 18 and Mathebula on June 13. Mathebula is out on a warning, and it is unclear how his firearm came to be in Lebogo’s hands,” said Malabi-Ndzhangi.

Picketing outside court were a few members of Seshego Community Against Crime and Gangsterism, clad in #NoExcuse T-shirts and protesting against gender-based violence. Their leader, Retori Mamabolo, said they were there in support of the lady that was murdered brutally by someone she thought loved her.  He added that it is time to have no excuse against gender- based violence.

“These people have three children together and now this man is in jail while he has (allegedly) killed his partner. This means these children are going to be orphans,” said Mamabolo.

Meanwhile back at the taxi rank where Lebogo worked, colleagues were still shocked and said they did not believe that it was the same man they knew who committed such a crime.

“All this man (Lebogo) ever did was to love fashion. He was very clean. We all didn’t believe that it was him who did this. We still think there may be a mistake, because even if there would be taxi violence, he would be far away from it. We didn’t think he is even able to use a gun,” said one of the drivers, who refused to be named.

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