Explosive Phakoe murder trial

2012-03-03 18:22

Hawks investigators found missing evidence related to the murder of a corruption whistle-blower in North West in the office of a high-ranking police officer during a raid last year.

This is just one of the explosive revelations coming out of the trial of Moss Phakoe’s alleged murderers that continued in the Mahikeng High Court.

Testimony and evidence before court this week has also revealed that top ANC leaders – among them President Jacob Zuma – were allegedly told about the corruption claims prior to Phakoe’s murder.

A witness told the court this week that Zuma and other party leaders decided to deal with the corruption claims within the ANC, rather than involving the police.

The corruption claims, argue prosecutors and investigators, were the motive for Phakoe’s murder in 2009.
Phakoe was an ANC councillor and Cosatu member who blew the whistle on corruption involving tens of millions of rands before his death.

The missing docket included incriminating CCTV footage allegedly showing Rustenburg’s mayor, Matthew Wolmarans, loading weapons into his car on the eve of Phakoe’s high-profile murder in March 2009.

The fate of the missing docket?– which disappeared at the beginning of 2011 amid a stagnant original investigation – was disclosed to City Press this week by an insider close to the inquiry.

Wolmarans is now standing trial for Phakoe’s murder.

The trial is a direct result of the emergence of the missing docket and the missing evidence.

The murder was originally investigated by a North West province special task team but went nowhere except to point the finger at people close to Phakoe.

After the Hawks found the Phakoe docket, a new national task team was appointed to investigate Phakoe’s murder and shortly afterwards, Wolmarans and his bodyguard, Enoch Matshaba, were arrested and charged with murder and possession of firearms and ammunition.

Phakoe’s confidant and fellow ANC councillor, Alfred Motsi, has told the Mahikeng High Court in testimony and in an affidavit how he and Phakoe, armed with an incriminating dossier, embarked on a fruitless mission to get the top ANC leadership to act against Wolmarans.

He said their dossier contained evidence that Wolmarans and other councillors were allegedly involved in fraud and other corruption totalling millions of rands.

Motsi told the court they first presented their evidence to the ANC regional leadership, then the provincial leadership of the North West, but nothing was done.

They also met with ANC national executive committee members Billy Masetlha and Siphiwe Nyanda, he testified.

They delivered evidence to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and to the office of the president, then run by current Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Their evidence was ignored, he told the court.

The pair then delivered documentation to Zuma’s Forest Town house in Johannesburg.

Zuma, who soon afterwards became South Africa’s president, invited them to come and see him over the 2008 Christmas period at his homestead at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal.

Motsi told the court they spent almost a whole night with Zuma and presented their evidence to him.

In January 2009 Phakoe, Motsi and several other councillors met the top ANC leadership in Potchefstroom.

Among them were Zuma, Motlanthe, Mantashe, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, then deputy president Baleka Mbete and Thandi Modise, now premier of the North West.

Wolmarans and several other ANC councillors also attended the meeting.

Phakoe and Motsi stated their cases, Motsi told the court.

The meeting ended with the leaders allegedly deciding that former minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Sicelo Shiceka must call a meeting to solve the problem, Motsi testified.

At no point, said Motsi, was any decision taken to report Wolmarans to the police.
Another meeting took place with Shiceka in Rustenburg, attended by Phakoe, Motsi and Wolmarans on March 12 2009.
Phakoe spoke last and handed his dossier to Shiceka.

Before he did so, he looked at Wolmarans and said: “Hate me, but don’t hurt me.”

Two days later, early in the evening of March 13, Phakoe’s body was found slumped over the steering wheel of his car with two bullet wounds.

The trial continues.

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