Soldier accused of murdering top cop

2013-07-30 16:23

A member of the SA National Defence Force is one of four men accused of the premeditated murder of former Johannesburg cluster commander Major General Tirhani Maswanganyi.

Ndaedzo Isaac Vele (29), Tshepo Mosai (30), Roger Godfrey Moseki (33) and Nditsheni Daniel Nefolovhodwe (32) appeared briefly in the Pretoria North District Court today before their bail applications were postponed to Thursday.

Maswanganyi was found dead on June 17 in a field near Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, with his hands and feet bound.

This followed a search, launched after a police patrol found his Isuzu bakkie abandoned next to the R101. A police uniform and police identification card were in the vehicle.

Prosecutor Lucas Moseki said the state opposed bail for all four accused.

He said the charges they faced were murder, premeditated murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Vele said in an affidavit read out in court that he was a soldier holding the rank of private. He feared that if he was held in custody for a long time he could be suspended from his job.

Vele said his fiancée was pregnant with his first child and was expected to give birth in November.

He also admitted that he had a prior conviction of rape, for which he received a suspended sentence.

On the day of the murder, he had picked up his commander from OR Tambo International Airport and then ran errands for her.

Vele’s commander wrote a statement, which was read out in court, confirming that he had fetched her from the airport that day.

The commander’s statement had not been officially commissioned, however, which meant it could not immediately be submitted as evidence.

Magistrate Ilne Stander said because the statement was not commissioned, it was “not worth the paper it is written on”.

Stander said the bail application for Vele’s co-accused could not proceed until the commander’s statement had been properly verified.

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