Flamboyant Mpumalanga businessman Sam “Mshengu” Chabalala, who faces charges of corruption, has been granted R200,000 bail on Monday. Judgment on his bail application was handed down in the Witbank magistrate’s court where he is facing charges of corruption, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, illegal entry, departing and remaining in the borders of South Africa, and providing false information to be granted entry into the country.
During judgment on his bail application, magistrate Mdumiseni Mavuso said the state allegations that Chabalala was a dangerous individual could not be proven.
“The state did not give details on why it claimed that the applicant is dangerous,” Mavuso said. “Based on the evidence his [Chabalala] lawyers presented, it seems as if he has strong family and business ties in South Africa. There is no evidence he has family outside the borders of the Republic and it is unknown if he has business and family ties outside of South Africa.
Mavuso said due to the strong ties that Chabalala has in SA, he does not consider him a flight risk.
“The state further alleges that he planned the assassination of a witness. This too could not be proved. The court does not have proof that he will assassinate a witness,” Mavuso said. His matter was postponed to November 22 for further investigation. Dressed in a Gucci jacket and a black pair of jeans, the 27-year-old appeared relieved and celebrated with his supporters before making his way down into the holding cells.
Mshengu, as he is popularly known, shot to national prominence in July when he took a 72-car convoy to the Durban July event. Pictures of his convoy of expensive cars went viral on social media. Most of them had personalised number plates with the name “Sam” on them.
He was arrested by the Hawks’ serious commercial crime investigation team at an eatery in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, after he allegedly paid home affairs officials a bribe to stop a probe into how he obtained his SA citizenship.
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