Writer’s view of Mashi case ignored facts

2010-04-24 12:42

A week after the ­brutal killing of AWB

­leader Eugene Terre’Blanche, City Press published an article by Andile

Mngxitama headlined “Blacks in Bondage”. It stated that due to the “criminal

neglect” of black people by the ANC, Terre’Blanche “and his gun-toting men” had

been allowed to spread terror in Ventersdorp right up until his death. In

support of this contention, Mngxitama related the following horrific

story:

“In 1997 a young black ­mayor of Ventersdorp, Kabelo Oupakie Mashi, a staunch member of the SACP, stood up against

the bullies of Ventersdorp. He transformed budgets, cajoled the local criminal

justice system to take ­racist violence seriously and attempted to bring freedom

to Ventersdorp. Mashi was ­abducted and murdered,

his body left in the veld.

“Witnesses were openly intimidated and the murder remains

unsolved.

“If a mayor can be killed for challenging white power and the

perpetrators can get away with it, what chance do ordinary mortals have? Terre-

’Blanche had carte blanche to terrorise black people.”

In such a context, Mngxitama argued, Terre’Blanche’s killers were

not murderers but “mere children” who had heroically acted to defend themselves

and their community.

Something did not smell quite right about Mngxitama’s account of

this murder. The truth is, his account bears very little resemblance to the

facts of the case.

Kabelo Mashi went missing on March

20,1999. He had told family members that he was going to pick up an associate,

Johannes Bota Monatle, to take him to a farm in Lichtenburg. He never returned.

The next day police began searching for him and Monatle after a

farmer in the Elandskuil area reported his car had been abandoned in a

field.

The North West police offered a R20 000 reward for information and

by March 24, 80 police officers on horseback, motorcycles and in helicopters

had been deployed to search for the missing men.

On March 25 police detectives tracked down Monatle to a farm in the

Lichtenburg vicinity. He was found with R1 020 in his possession, which police

suspected came from the R4 000 that Mashi had

withdrawn from the bank before his disappearance.

Monatle led detectives to the location of Mashi’s body, in a sunflower field about 2km from where

the car had been abandoned. The police found a knife in the vicinity. A

subsequent post-mortem found that Mashi had died

after being stabbed in the heart and lungs.

In November 2000 the case came before

the circuit court in Potchefstroom. Monatle pleaded guilty to murder and robbery

charges.

According to Monatle, Mashi had owed

him R2 000.

At the time of the murder the two men had been arguing about the

money. Mashi had climbed out of the car, opened

the door on Monatle’s side, pulled him out and thrown him to the ground.

Monatle had then stabbed Mashi,

killing him. Monatle took the deceased’s ID book, which contained R2 000, as

well as his cellphone. He escaped in Mashi’s car,

which he abandoned in a mielie field.

On November 27, 2000, Monatle was sentenced to 20 years in prison

for murder and five years for robbery.

To sum up, it took five days for the police to solve the murder of

Mashi and a year and eight months to then secure a

conviction.

  • Myburgh is the editor of ­Politicsweb

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