Julius Malema’s lawyer, advocate Tumi Mokwena will remain in custody until Tuesday, 27 June, for a formal bail application.
Mokwena was arrested at his office in Polokwane on Thursday, 22 June for shooting and wounding 4 people in Zebediela, Limpopo.
He was charged with four counts of attempted murder and subsequently made his first appearance today at the Thabamoopo Magistrates Court in Lebowakgomo Magistrate Court.
Limpopo police say they are looking for top lawyer Tumi Mokwena to "assist" them with investigations into the shooting of four farm workers. pic.twitter.com/C4GhC7SiGN
— African Times (@AfricanTimesSA) June 22, 2017
During court proceedings, Advocate Tumi Mokwena‚ who was dressed in a blue sweater asked that the chains on his ankles be removed. “I shouldn’t be in leg chains when I appear before this court. It is very inhumane,” he said.
When approached, the manager of Zebediela Citrus Farm, Kobus Swanepoel, told reporters what actually happened.
He said: “Mr Mokwena has six clients on the farm who he was representing. The clients asked him for one hour of their time.
He was already on the farm at the time. The group of workers accused Mokwena of increasing the salaries of a few workers while neglecting the rest. The workers then asked Advocate Tumi Mokwena to leave the farm and he [Mokwena] then asked for security.
During the altercation four people including a security guard were shot, one seriously wounded. The wounded workers and the security guards were taken to hospital for medical treatment.”
Mokwena And Zebediela Citrus Farm
Zebediela Citrus Farm is one of the biggest citrus producers in Africa. In its prime, it produced 830 000 cartons of oranges, which were exported to Asia, Europe and Canada.
The farm is owned by the Bjwatladi Communal Property Association (BCPA) – a group of land restitution beneficiaries.
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Advocate Tumi Mokwena joined the farm as a manager in 2016 after he successfully represented the BCPA against Boys Group, a strategic partner overseeing the farm since the land was returned to the community.
However, his relationship with the farm owners soured after about 1 500 workers were not paid their salaries late last year. He was accused of increasing some workers’ salary and neglected some. He left the farm in February and returned for the first time yesterday.
Fast Facts You Should Know
- The shooting happened on Thursday, 22 June, at about 09:30. He was arrested eight hours after the incident.
- Mokwena reportedly fled the scene in his vehicle after shooting the workers. Reports have it that he opened fire after some workers blocked his way.
- Two of the shot workers are Gilbert Kekana (53) and Michael Nyathi (32).
- The advocate had visited Zebediela Citrus Farm to represent five workers who had salary disputes with the management.
- During his arrest at his office, one firearm was recovered. This report was confirmed by Police Spokesperson, Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe.
- Mokwena’s defence lawyer is Naledi Mothapo.
- The court hosted a large number of farm workers wearing red union shirts, who filled the public gallery just to see things for themselves.
- The presiding magistrate cited that a postponement is necessary because the police need more time to confirm the condition of one of the victims.
- Advocate Mokwena represented Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema in his tax trial in 2016.
For more update on the case, watch this space!