Murder accused tortured: court hears

By Drum Digital
05 March 2013

Two men who confessed to being involved in the murder of ANC North West official Obuti Chika were tortured by police, the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.

Moses Jones Botman, for Jeffrey Letuka, said his client was tortured and forced to confess.

" [Just] because there were no visible injuries, it does not mean he was never tortured," Botman submitted.

The State told the court on Monday that Letuka and co-accused Sihlangu Sekhakhane had confessed to being involved in the crime.

However, in his own affidavit, Sekhakhane denied committing the crime, and claimed police officers assaulted him. He said he was made to sign a confession under duress.

They are accused with North West provincial African National Congress Youth League chairman Papiki Baboile, ward secretary Paul Molomonyane, councillor Itumeleng Molebatsi, municipal worker William Malefo, taxi driver Kgotso Kali, and North West local government MEC China Dodovu.

According to an affidavit by the police, Letuka claimed after his arrest that Kali approached him and a friend and asked them to kill Chika. He handed Letuka and his friend two explosive devices and promised the two they would receive R50,000 for killing Chika.

Baboile and Molefo were with Kali during the meeting with Letuka and his friend. They returned later, said they could not raise the money, and took back the explosives.

In a sworn statement Kali denied attending any meeting or promising any money to Letuka or Sekhakhane.

Prosecutor Riekie Krause said on Monday that Sekhakhane had confessed to killing Chika and had led police to his gun. Forensics had later matched the bullets which killed Chika to this gun.

She told the court Sekhakhane had claimed to have met Kali in a BMW X5 shortly before the crime. Krause said Baboile owned a BMW X5.

Kali had allegedly told him that, before he could attend the ANC's conference in Mangaung in December, Chika had to be killed.

Sekhakhane's lawyer Meletse Seemane said on Tuesday that his client, in an affidavit, denied he committed the crime.

Chika, 33, was shot at point-blank range in the driveway of his Klerksdorp home on December 14. He died in a local hospital.

Kenneth Kgomongwe, for Molefo, Kali and Baboile, said on Tuesday the State's case was based on an unnamed witness called "Witness X".

"There are a number of outstanding witness statements and forensic reports."

He denied that the men had attended any meetings where Chika's murder was discussed.

According to the State, Witness X said that on December 11, residents of Jouberton, Klerksdorp, were upset with the municipality after the mayor arranged for shacks to be destroyed. The mayor's assassination was discussed at one meeting between the accused.

The witness was also present at another meeting at River Lodge on December 13. Molomonyane, Baboile, Molebatsi, Kali, Molefo and Dodovu attended that meeting.

Doduvu's lawyer Nico Dreyer denied his client had attended the meeting.

"Based on the State's affidavit, no allegations are made, directly or indirectly that he [Dodovu] was involved in any conspiracy.

"It is indeed impossible that the applicant could be in River Lodge, while he... was with VIP protectors in Mahikeng."

He said in all the affidavits by the other accused, Dodovu was not mentioned.

Dreyer said Dodovu was arrested because he was investigating corruption in the province.

"Something is not right there," he said.

He said Dodovu was implicated in the crime to silence him. Dreyer said people often used the courts to get rid of political opponents.

-Sapa

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