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Accused chewed Terre'Blanche's sim card

2010-05-19 22:57

Ventersdorp - The court heard on Wednesday that murder-accused Chris Mahlangu got so annoyed when Eugene Terre'Blanche's cellphone kept ringing that he took out the sim card, chewed on it and threw it away.

This forced the second-accused to borrow a cellphone to call the police to alert them to the situation.

Mahlangu's bail application was postponed to June 10 in the Ventersdorp Magistrate's Court.

The court also heard testimony about Mahlangu's background and citizenship from his uncle.

Earlier, prosecutor George Baloyi read out an affidavit from Home Affairs stating there was no record of Mahlangu on the population register.

He read the affidavit to investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Tsietsi Mano and asked if he agreed with its contents.

Baloyi said according to the affidavit, Mahlangu said he was born on September 19 1982, but because his details could not be found, he either entered the country illegally or gave different particulars when he entered South Africa from Zimbabwe.

Papers destroyed


Mahlangu, who had no passport or identity document, claimed his papers were destroyed in a shack fire.

The only Chris Mahlangu the department found was born in August 1985.

Even if he had applied for proper documents, nothing stopped him from moving in and out of South Africa freely.

The department recommended he not be granted bail, which Mahlangu's lawyer Puna Moroko objected to, stating it was not legally qualified to say this.

During his stint in the witness box, Mano was asked why Mahlangu used another person's cellphone after the murder, when he was allegedly in possession of Terre'Blanche's phone.

Calls made from ET's house

Mano said: "Along the way back from the farm, the Terre'Blanche phone was constantly ringing. He (Mahlangu) was annoyed. He took out the sim card, chewed on it and threw it away."

Mano said during the investigation, he obtained a detailed account which showed the calls came from the Terre'Blanche home.

Moroko earlier said he was looking forward to "wrestling" with Mano over his testimony from a previous bail hearing.

During that testimony, Mano said according to the preliminary summary of what they believed were the facts, Mahlangu and his 15-year-old co-accused had planned Terre'Blanche's murder in the stables on his farm.

He alleged they had planned to kill him on a Friday, after a row over missing cattle and unpaid wages, but killed him the next day, on April 3, instead.

He said Terre'Blanche had been struck 28 times with an iron rod and panga while sleeping, and had not seen it coming. The boy then called the police from a borrowed cellphone and the police picked them up from the side of a road.

Self defence claim


Moroko had tried to get the charges against his client amended from a schedule six to a schedule five crime as he intended claiming self defence.

A schedule five crime refers to unplanned crimes. Magistrate Magaola Foso dismissed the application, saying it could be raised during argument.

Testimony on Mahlangu's background was then presented by his uncle Isiah Ngobeni, who said he first met Mahlangu when he was a boy in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe.

He said when police told him about Terre'Blanche's murder, they never said Mahlangu had committed the offence, only that he was a suspect.

He did not believe it because he did not know Mahlangu was working in the Ventersdorp area.

'Not a violent person'

"He is a humble person, he respects me, he never had a grudge or quarrel with me. He was not a person to be aggrieved," Ngobeni said.

"He is not a violent person and always, he was obedient. When I talked to him he always said 'uncle forgive me if I offend you'."

The court heard Mahlangu had five siblings, and about 20 other family members living in South Africa.

Ngobeni said he would accommodate Mahlangu if asked to.

"Yes, with conditions. He will be obedient, but I don't know if that will change... but he will listen to me."

He would keep him, urge him to look for employment and help him with money to find a job, even if it was R1 000 to travel to Cape Town for work.

Moroko said Mahlangu had met a white man called Frans who brought him to Ventersdorp. He was in the grass cutting business, and through Frans, met Terre'Blanche and began working for him.

Ngobeni said he was not aware of that, and did not know how he came to be in the area.

Family


Magistrate Foso asked whether Mahlangu's family would send him back to South Africa if he went to Zimbabwe, knowing he was in trouble.

"His mom and dad won't push him into the fire," Ngobeni said.

Foso said he asked this because if Mahlangu went back to Zimbabwe, Ngobeni would be the only link with him to get him back.

"Do you see the picture?" said Foso, pointing out that for a year Ngobeni had not known Mahlangu's whereabouts.

Ngobeni said Mahlangu, who left school in Grade 4 or 5, also had a drinking problem, but he was willing to help him.

"Today he requested me to buy him a packet of cigarettes and so I felt pity for him and so I bought it."