Acquitted of murder, an ANC ward councillor described by his peers as a humble man, just wants to get on with the job he was recently elected to do.
After nearly missing his first and all-important Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality council meeting due to his lagging court case, the words “not guilty” were what Vukile Dyele, 38, and his lawyer had fought hard to hear.
They heard those words earlier this week.
The Ward 29 councillor was accused alongside Mputhumi Maxela, 45, Siyabulelo Sibhulo, 39, Zalisile Mbolekwa, 53, Ntombizoduma Mletelwa, 32, and Luvuyo Maneli, 42, of beating two suspected gang members to death in a gruesome mob justice attack in the Greenfields area in Booysen Park in May 2013.
It was Dyele’s unshaken testimony, a corroborated alibi and the contradictory versions of the state witnesses that saw him acquitted in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday on charges of housebreaking with intent to kidnap, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of murder, public violence, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, two counts of arson and malicious damage to property.
Similarly, Judge Elna Revelas said there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dyele’s co-accused had committed the heinous acts.
Speaking through defence advocate Richard Crompton, Dyele said: “I look forward to putting this matter behind me. I now want to serve my people, as I was elected to do.”
Revelas said while the state had presented a lot of evidence, most of it was superficial.
The quality of the evidence from the state witnesses could also not be relied upon.
The attack on Lunga Xola and Bulelani Lombo, both 20, was carried out by fed-up residents claiming the men – suspected members of the Big Naz gang – were behind several armed robberies in the neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, the witnesses, mostly family members of the victims, denied that Xola and Lombo had ever been involved in gang activity.
One witness even went as far as to deny the existence of gangs in the northern areas.
Revelas found Dyele to be a good witness, and that his version that he had stood some distance from the scene and merely looked on was backed up by other bystanders.