Sandra Stein defends Sonto and Mazet in court

Sandra Stein negotiates house arrest for Mam Sonto [Gomora]

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Sandra Stein, a stickler for pre-trial research, would have known that Mam Sonto Molefe – real name Connie Chiume – is facing serious charges. Sonto has twice evaded jail before. Detective Mahlasela – real name Kabelo Moalusi – thought he could bury Mam Sonto, but in the end, he dug his own grave. His underling, Officer Nabe, had the pleasure of arresting Sonto two weeks ago. And last week, Sonto was dragged before a judge, played by Keketso Semoko of Ma Agnes fame (Isidingo). The prosecutor, Advocate Ndzimande (real name Yonda Thomas) was not going to have an easy day in court; Mam Sonto had the best lawyer on Mzansi Magic in her corner.

Sounds like a job for Sandra Stein

After Mam Sonto was dragged off to jail, along with co accused, Ntokozo and Zanele Jubilee Thwala – I can never keep a straight face when I hear that name, Jubilee – Thathi had to mend the bridge she had blown apart in season one. With Mam Sonto facing serious jail time, Thathi swallowed her pride and called the much respected Sandra Stein – real name Shannon Esra — who holds the coveted distinction of being the only fictional character to feature in five different Mnet television shows; The Queen, The River, The Throne, Legacy and Gomora. And because lawyers worship money, Sandra Stein put aside her 2020 tiff with Thathi and came rushing to seedy Gomora. It was so like Sandra Stein to make a grand entrance just as Mam Sonto, seeking atonement for her past crimes, had picked up a pen with the intention of writing a love letter to the prosecutor:

“I, Sonto Molefe, being of murderous inclination, do hereby confess to the carjacking and shooting of Mbongeni Ndaba…..”

Although Sonto was prepared to take the blame and save Ntokozo and Jubilee — battles to suppress a giggle — Thathi forbade her to confess. It was just as well that Stein arrived in time to stop her.

Sonto, Ntokozo, Mazet trial causes tension

Tension ran high in the Molefe household, with sisters Thathi Ndaba – real name Katlego Danke – and Pretty Madida in conflict over Sonto’s innocence, or guilt, depending on what you have on your shoulder; demon or angel. Thathi, who is aware that Sonto’s guilt may drag her down too, for her part in the carjacking business, is ready to defend her mother but Pretty wants Sonto to “rot in jail”. When Thathi visited Sonto in jail, it was to discuss legal strategy and when Pretty called in on her mother it was to ask her to confess.

Pretty’s daughter, Tshiamo, who sees Sonto as Christ’s 13th disciple volunteered to give a glowing character reference for her “innocent Gogo”. Langa, who is still dealing with the identity crisis of being Langa Ndaba, Langa Dlamini, is suspicious of Sonto but clung to some hope that his newfound brother, Ntokozo, is innocent.

At the Dlamini double storey — said with Zodwa’s contempt — there was another civil war going on. While Gladys — like all mothers do — readily believed in her son’s innocence, Melusi, who still has vivid recollection of the prophet’s damning verdict on Ntokozo, does not need Judge Ma Agnes to tell him that his son is guiltier than Oscar Pistorius. Gladys and Melusi’s marriage, already strained from the Langa paternity revelation, is once again being tested. Melusi was prepared to withhold Ntokozo’s bail, in fact he did not even want to attend the bail hearing, while Gladys was actively searching for a lawyer. But in the end, Melusi reluctantly attended the hearing.

Sonto denied bail

Prosecutor Ndzimande called Pretty to the stand as a witness. Naturally, Pretty who gave police the key evidence – Jomo’s confession letter – spoke against her mother, giving details of the day Sonto tried to initiate her into the carjacking business. She also revealed that Sonto keeps several guns at home and that she is feared by the community of Alex Township. During cross examination, Sonto’s lawyer, Sandra Stein turned the tables on Pretty. Stein brought up the altercation between Pretty and Thathi, during which the former slashed her sister’s arm with a knife, just to illustrate that it was Pretty who, in actual fact, had a tendency towards violence, rather than Sonto. Stein who has files on everyone’s past, also argued that Pretty was bitter about Sonto appointing Thathi as the main beneficiary in her will. But despite Sandra Stein’s eloquent argument and disarming olive skin beauty, Judge Ma Agnes denied Sonto bail because she deemed her a flight risk, a threat to the community and likely to flee and live the rest of her life in exile. YOH, so what Judge Ma Agnes is saying is old people are more likely to run away because ha ba na bokamoso. Okay, enough Isidingo jokes. Jubilee – let me try to keep a straight face – and Ntokozo were granted bail.

Cold welcome for Ntokozo

Ntokozo’s joy at being granted bail was a clear sign of his guilt. A man who is wrongfully accused would be livid rather than celebrate his release from jail. Langa, realising that Ntokozo was guilty, punched him in the face but his half brother still pleaded innocence. Langa is also wounded by the realization that Ntokozo “only befriended him out of guilt”.

Later, Ntokozo unwittingly confessed to Langa. “It was just supposed to be a joy ride, nobody was supposed die.”

Meanwhile, thanks to Sandra Stein’s great lawyering, Mam Sonto was finally granted bail on strict terms. She was ordered to remain in her home until the trial, only leave the house to report to the police station and surrender her passport, as if criminals ever escape via OR Tambo airport and declare their luggage.

Langa pondered Ntokozo’s words. He went to Officer Nabe and told him that Ntokozo had practically admitted his guilt.

On the strength of Ntokozo’s admission, prosecutor Ndzimande pushed for a deal to give him a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony against Sonto, which is to say turn state witness, which is also to say impimpi. A similar deal was offered to Mazet who turned it down. Thathi and Sonto feared that, if Mazet had been offered a reduced sentence, in order to sell out Sonto, it was likely that the prosecutor had given similar incentive to Ntokozo. When Mazet asked him, Ntokozo denied that the prosecutor had offered him anything, lutho, not even a cool drink. But Sonto’s corrupt police snitch told her otherwise. Thathi and Sonto began to seriously consider “silencing” Ntokozo. The plot thickens like Gogo’s mogodu sauce.

Gomora blunder

I’m not sure if the scriptwriters intended to illustrate Sandra Stein’s superiority in courtroom preparedness over state lawyers, but it was the oddest thing that Advocate Ndzimande didn’t have a clue who Pretty Madida was when she approached him and offered to give testimony. Ndzimande automatically assumed she was there to plead Sonto’s innocence, yet it is on police record that Pretty is the informant — impimpi! — who gave the cops Jomo’s incriminating letter. Come on, Mr/Ms Episode Writer. We deserve more for our pricy DSTV subscriptions.

Meanwhile in the twittersphere, fans continue to call for a Sandra Stein spinoff legal drama. Super screenwriter, Phathu Makwarela, who co-writes with Gwydion Beynon, once hinted at the possibility of a show starring Mzansi Magic’s most loved lawyer. It remains to be seen if the multi award winning writer was merely teasing.


Till next week, my pen is capped

Connect with the author on Twitter @RewindMzansi

Gomora airs weekdays at 7:30pm on Mzansi Magic

Images from Twitter, videos from YouTube 




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