Was Moss Phakoe’s death in vain – and what now?

2014-06-22 15:00

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Former Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala was shot dead outside his home in January 2009 for exposing corruption in the construction of the Mbombela Stadium.

Two months later, Rustenburg councillor Moss Phakoe was gunned down outside his home after he exposed corruption within the municipality.

Five years later, both Mohlala and Phakoe’s families have no idea who killed the breadwinners in their homes and it appears the state is also clueless on this.

The Phakoe family thought they had some relief in 2012 following the conviction of former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans and his then bodyguard Enoch Matshaba for the murder.

But that relief has turned into anguish for the family.

The conviction and sentence of Wolmarans and Matshaba were overturned on appeal after, their lawyers say, two witnesses who testified in the trial came forward and claimed they had been forced to lie under oath.

This is a real worry if witnesses indeed lied so that two innocent men were convicted for a crime they did not commit.

The state – police and prosecutors – have to urgently investigate what really happened and why witnesses were forced to commit perjury.

Those who did this should be brought to book and those witnesses should be dealt with for plunging the lives of two innocent men into misery and bringing false closure to Phakoe’s family.

The failure to arrest and convict the real killers of Phakoe and Mohlala does not bode well for our democracy and our fight against corruption in government and those who want to report it.

As one of Phakoe’s children said this week: “Do people get their life cut short for being too loyal to the ANC or was my father’s honesty, which cost him his life, all in vain?”

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