A FORMER Umkhonto weSizwe veteran is free to walk the streets after he shot the mother of his children at her workplace before handing himself over to the police.
This follows an East London magistrate’s decision to release Mxolisi Leleke on bail – even after he allegedly threatened to hunt down his ex-girlfriend, who survived the shooting, and kill her.
East London’s chief prosecutor has now taken on magistrate Bharat Hansjee, questioning a spate of bail rulings he has made in the city’s magistrate’s court, and reporting him to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Chief prosecutor Indra Goberdan is fighting to reverse Hansjee’s latest decision and the state will now bring the matter on appeal.
When he discovered his former girlfriend was still alive, Leleke allegedly told the investigating officer he would find her and “finish her off”.
Now Bukiwe Somazambe fears for her life.
In August last year Leleke, 53, walked up to Somazambe, drew a firearm from his jacket pocket and shot her three times in a jealous rage.
She was wounded in both arms and the third bullet grazed her stomach.
Leleke then held the gun to Somazambe’s head and pulled the trigger. However, there were no more bullets in the gun.
He then went to the Duncan Village police station, where he handed himself over and was remanded.
Somazambe, 39, who has two children fathered by the accused, survived the attack.
The alleged shooting occurred despite a protection order prohibiting Leleke from contacting Somazambe, who said Leleke had been abusive.
Somazambe claimed Leleke had breached the order several times and despite being arrested numerous times, “he kept coming back for me”.
On Monday Hansjee released Leleke on bail after he brought an application based on new facts.
He claimed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and needed counselling.
The state argued he could receive adequate treatment in custody. Also, it was not in the interests of society to release him as he posed a risk to the complainant.
The court was told how Leleke had made threats to the police that he would “finish off” the complainant once he had been released.
Despite this, Leleke was granted bail and told to report to the police station weekly. He was also ordered not to interfere with the complainant.
“If a protection order did not stop him from coming after me, why would this?” a traumatised Somazambe asked.
“I am still alive by the grace of God and I’m now scared he is going to kill me and then kill himself, just like he promised,” she said yesterday.
Somazambe said she now felt she had nowhere to turn.
“I feel helpless … The court has let me down.”
Goberdan said she could not understand Hansjee’s reasoning in granting bail.
“The court was informed of the threats made by the accused. I have requested the transcripts to get a better understanding but I am not happy with the decisions made.”
It is the third time in less than a year that Goberdan has turned to the DPP for assistance. In October last year, she reported Hansjee to the DPP after he granted bail to a Beacon Bay gardener who had 14 previous convictions.