/ 1 April 2021

Luphondo, Masange released on bail

Matric Luphondo
Advocate Matric Luphondo has been released on bail. (Phill Makagoe/Gallo)

Acting Mpumalanga director of public prosecutions Matric Luphondo and his two co-accused were released on bail of R20 000 each by the Pretoria magistrate’s court on Thursday. The trio has been charged with attempting to bribe a fellow prosecutor. 

The corruption case against Luphondo, Hawks lieutenant-colonel Ayanda Plaatje and Kebone Masange, the head of the Mpumalanga department of human settlements, was postponed until July 23 for further investigation.

The three were arrested earlier this week for allegedly trying to bribe state prosecutor Andrew Mphanga with R32 000 in cash and a bottle of whisky in exchange for dropping charges of fraud and contravention of immigration laws against Masange. 

Mphanga reported the bribery attempt to his superiors and to the police.

Plaatje allegedly handed Mphanga R28 000 in cash after saying Masange was prepared to do whatever was necessary to have the case against him collapsed.

On March 18, Luphondo then followed up by meeting Mphanga in a McDonald’s restaurant in Arcadia and handing him a box containing R5 000 in cash and a bottle of Glenfiddich.

Luphondo had been tasked with monitoring evidence that emerged from the Zondo commission with a view to formulating charges against those implicated in state capture.

He was also one of the candidates for the position of national director of public prosecutions, which went to advocate Shamila Batohi in 2019.

Bail conditions for all three include not interfering with state witnesses.

Masange was arrested by the Hawks in September 2020 after it emerged that he had three different South African identity documents, issued on different dates.

One document claimed he was born in Johannesburg, another stated he was born in Pietermaritzburg, and a third said he is from Zimbabwe but qualified for a local ID document in terms of an exemption granted to nationals of South Africa’s northern neighbours.

His case was postponed last year for further investigation.