Credibility of Terre'Blanche cop questioned
Ventersdorp - The credibility of the investigating officer in the murder trial of rightwing leader Eugene Terre'Blanche was brought into question in the High Court sitting in Ventersdorp on Friday.
"You flout rules of engagement, your own policy, and the law," defence for the accused youth, Norman Arendse, told investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Tsietsi Mano.
Chris Mahlangu and the minor, who may not be named, are charged with beating Terre'Blanche to death in his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp in the North West in April 2010.
Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking, and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mahlangu claims he acted in self defence. The teenager has denied involvement in the crime.
During the trial within a trial on Friday on the admissibility of evidence, two cases involving Mano - one criminal and one civil - were used by the defence to question his credibility.
Apartheid-style torture methods
The pending criminal case referred to Mano's arrest in May 2010 by the Independent Complaints Directorate.
"You used apartheid-style torture methods on a group of bank robbery suspects, including a police captain, who endured five hours of torture and spent a week in hospital," Arendse told Mano.
He said methods including electric shock, near drowning, and mock execution were used.
The civil judgment in question was delivered in the North Gauteng High Court in 2008 against Mano and a number of other police officers.
The respondent in the case, the then minister of safety and security, had to pay more than R500 000 in compensation to Madimetja Phineas Kutumela who was wrongfully arrested in 2004 in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Constable Francis Rasuge.
According to the judgment, Mano and other SA Police Service members assaulted Kutumela and initiated malicious proceedings against him.
"You use illegal, unlawful, and cruel methods to extract evidence," Arendse said to Mano.
He questioned the interviews Mano had with both accused in the Terre'Blanche case.
Arendse called it astonishing that Mano had delayed contacting the teenager's mother before conducting an interview with him.
"My lord, I did not do it immediately, but I did it," Mano replied.
Earlier on Friday, the court heard that Mano allegedly threatened to kill Mahlangu.
"You would arrange for him [Mahlangu] to be taken to a magistrate to make a statement, and if he does not do as you tell him, then you will kill him," Mahlangu's lawyer Kgomotso Tlouane put it to Mano. He denied this.
The pointing out of crime scenes and procedures followed were also questioned.
Mano admitted he initiated the pointing out and that the youth, before pointing out the crime scenes, had not slept since the night of the murder.
"You wanted them to show not where the crime took place, but what they did," Arendse told Mano.
Mano said: "This was not true."
Arendse explained how the teenager was transported from Ventersdorp to the Klerksdorp police station, driven to Terre'Blanche’s farm the day after the murder, and finally back to the Ventersdorp police station.
Mano replied: "According to my observation [the youth] had no signs of maybe being sleepy or maybe being uncomfortable."
Tlouane questioned Mano about why the two accused needed to be transferred at all.
"Ventersdorp has always been in the news about racial confrontations," Mano said.
He was worried that as Terre'Blanche was the leader of the AWB, his followers might take matters into their own hands and attack the police station.
"There was a lot of tension," he said. It was taken as a precautionary measure.
Arendse said: "The only reason you wanted to move them from Ventersdorp to Klerksdorp was to interrogate them and subject them to a pointing out that was irregular, because there was no mother present."
Mano denied this.
"Throughout your career, including this case, your approach is that the end justifies the means," Arendse said.
The court was adjourned until Monday.