Sinoxolo Mafevuka case: Cop denies rough interrogation of cousins

2017-08-30 17:39
Cousins Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika on a visit to Khayelitsha as part of their rape, murder trial. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Cousins Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika on a visit to Khayelitsha as part of their rape, murder trial. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – Two men accused of raping and killing Sinoxolo Mafevuka in Khayelitsha were not assaulted or manhandled after being taken in for questioning, a policeman told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Detective Sergeant Bradley Davids, stationed at Harare police station, was present when cousins Athabile and Xolisa Mafilika were brought in as suspects.

Testifying as a State witness, he said he was in the office for about 10 to 15 minutes during the interrogation by Investigating Officer Constable Isaac Tshabalala.

READ MORE: Khayelitsha toilet killing case: State accused of ‘ambush’ evidence strategy

“Firstly, Tshabalala explained the reason why they were there. He gave the suspects an opportunity to give him their version, their side of the story,” he told prosecutor Ralph Zeeman.

Tshabalala acted professionally, he said. 

The men were nervous and were handcuffed with their hands behind their back. “There was no other physical contact between the investigator and the accused or myself and the accused. They were not injured in any way.”

He left the office to carry on with the investigation because he could not understand the exchange in Xhosa.

Nineteen-year-old Mafevuka was found dead in a communal toilet in SST 2 Block, Town Two, in Khayelitsha on the morning of March 2, 2016.

She was naked and her clothes were stuffed in the toilet cistern. Water from the leaking toilet is believed to have washed any DNA evidence away.

Hit on the legs

Under cross-examination by Advocate Mornay Calitz, for Xolisa, Davids said it was possible that a second investigator, Detective-Sergeant Cornelius van Niekerk, was also present during the interrogation.

He confirmed the accused were separated while being questioned.

Calitz claimed that his client was assaulted in this time by being hit on the legs.

“In the time period I was in the office, no one was assaulted. I cannot confirm how long the total interrogation was,” Davids replied.

Handcuffs too tight

Advocate Shaid Bruinders, for Athabile, said his client’s handcuffs were too tight.

Davids said he did not hear any screaming or complaints about the handcuffs while he was there.

“He also says that Constable Tshabalala put a plastic bag over his face,” the lawyer said.

Davids denied this but later conceded that he was not present for the entire interrogation and would not have known what happened in his absence.

The men were later taken to the district surgeon for examination.

Davids was excused from the stand.

The court heard that the State continued to experience difficulties in bringing witnesses to court.

A witness who was meant to testify on Wednesday morning could not be found at his house. There was also difficulty in getting a witness in the Eastern Cape to be at court.

Judge Taswell Papier postponed the trial until Thursday.

Read more on:    sinoxolo mafevuka  |  cape town  |  crime

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