MEC, 5 co-accused get bail in murder case

2013-03-05 22:28
China Dodovu (Picture: Beeld)

China Dodovu (Picture: Beeld)

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Klerksdorp - Six out of the eight people accused of murdering ANC North West official Obuti Chika were granted bail in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Magistrate Thebogo Thupayatlase found that North West provincial ANC Youth League chairperson 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 had provided the exceptional circumstances required for bail.

Molomonyane, Molebatsi, Malefo and Kali were granted bail of R5 000.

Baboile was granted bail of R10 000 and Dodovu, R20 000.

People in the public gallery cheered as Dodovu's name was mentioned.

Thupayatlase found that Jeffrey Letuka and Sihlangu Sekhakhane had not satisfied conditions for bail.

Both had confessed to being involved in the crime.

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

The court heard on Tuesday that Sekhakhane and Letuka were allegedly forced to confess to the crime.

Moses Jones Botman, for 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.

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.

Denials

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 claimed he had 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.

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 11 December, 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 13 December. Molomonyane, Baboile, Molebatsi, Kali, Molefo and Dodovu attended that meeting.

Something not right

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.

Thupayatlase said the admission of the State that witness X was being protected, worked in favour of the bail application of the six men.

The case was postponed to 4 April.

Read more on:    anc  |  obuti chika  |  china dodovu  |  mahikeng  |  politics

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