Alton Mphethi ‘got a message from God’ before a man died in his home

2015-03-18 16:09

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God and the ancestors allegedly told former Pan Africanist Congress president Alton Mphethi to return home on the night a Swazi national was murdered in his house.

Mphethi told the North Gauteng High Court sitting in Ermelo today that he was attending a tender briefing meeting in KaNyamazane township outside Mbombela on January 13 2008 and had paid to sleep over at a Formula One Hotel in Nelspruit when he changed his mind.

“I decided not to sleep over because my God and my ancestors told me that I was going to waste my time because tenders are awarded to people belonging to a certain organisation. I paid using my bank card and slept after 7pm but at 10pm I drove back to Ermelo,” he told Judge Andre Louw.

Mphethi, his second wife Violet Malinga-Mphethi, Solomon Matsimela, Ntwampe Thankgwe and Lazarus Mphethi are on trial for the murder of Mthunzi Mavundla.

They are facing murder and obstruction of justice charges.

According to the charge sheet, Mphethi arrived at his Ermelo home in the early hours of January 14 and found his wife with Mavundla in the house.

The charge sheet said that Malinga-Mphethi fled the house to sleep over at a friend’s place, and the friend took her to Emalahleni (formerly Witbank) the following morning.

Mphethi contacted Matsimela, Thankgwe and Lazarus to come to his house and they allegedly assaulted Mavundla until he died.

Malinga-Mphethi returned to Ermelo a few days later and opened a false case of rape against Mavundla at Ermelo police station, according to the charge sheet.

“The five accused at all times acted with a common purpose to defeat or obstruct the course of justice or to attempt to do so,” reads the charge sheet.

Mphethi – wearing a Zion Christian Church badge on his chest – said he drove two hours from Mbombela to Ermelo in his “powerful” Chevrolet SS bakkie.

When he arrived in Ermelo, Mphethi said, he went to check on his business and then drove to his second home where Malinga-Mphethi lived. Mphethi is a polygamist with two wives.

He found the remote-controlled gate locked and he said he jumped over it as he always did when arriving late at night so he would not disturb his wife’s sleep.

“I was in a good mood and was singing a hymn as I went to the house. I went to the sliding door of the bedroom and opened it. I looked through the burglar door and realised that no one was sleeping in the bed,” Mphethi said.

Mphethi said he went to the kitchen and opened a small window on the door. That was when Malinga-Mphethi came out of another bedroom, but walked past him to their bedroom. Mphethi said he was shouting at her to open the door.

“She came back to open and we walked together to our bedroom. I saw that now it appeared as if someone had been sleeping on the bed. I told her the bed was not like this when I first looked,” he said.

“We then walked out to the other bedroom,” said Mphethi.

“The bedroom door was open and I could see through the gap [between the door and the door frame] that someone was standing there. I shouted and my wife asked: ‘Is there someone?’”

Mphethi said he entered and greeted Mavundla and asked what brought him to his house.

Mavundla and Malinga-Mphethi did not answer any of his questions.

Malinga-Mphethi allegedly went back to their main bedroom, locked the door and fled through a window. Mphethi said he went to look for her at the police station but officers said she was not there.

Mphethi called his friends and his wife’s relatives to discuss the stranger in the house. The case was adjourned to tomorrow morning.

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