‘He’s free, but my nephew’s dead

2010-10-03 10:24

The family of Richard Mathebula, the man who died while facing a murder trial along with Mark Scott-Crossley, ­reacted bitterly to the news of ­Scott-Crossley’s freedom.

Scott-Crossley finished his parole in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, this week and is now a free man.

Mathebula was one of the four suspects accused of ­murdering Nelson Chisale and feeding him to lions in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, in 2004.

He died from a tuberculosis-related illness while the trial was under way in 2006.

Mathebula’s aunt, Assah Mathebula, said from the late man’s RDP house in Acornhoek that she read about Scott-Crossley’s freedom for the first time in City Press.

“He is a free man today yet he caused all the trouble,” Mathebula said.

“The law seems to be favouring whites. They could have had the decency to tell us that Scott-Crossley was being released. My brother’s son died with a murder case ­hanging over his head.”

Scott-Crossley was not on his Hoedspruit game reserve on Friday.

He said he was in Johannesburg and refused to be interviewed telephonically.

He said: “I am coming back to Hoedspruit on October 11. I’d ­prefer to talk to you face to face so that I know what you are going to write is correct.”

Scott-Crossley is quite popular in the Hoedspruit area.

A security guard from a neighbouring game reserve said he was a good man. “Just phone that number at the gate and he will come open for you.

“He is a good man. Prison ­softened him up,” he said.

In 2004 Scott-Crossley, Mathebula, Simon Mathebula and Robert Mnisi were ­accused of assaulting Chisale before throwing him into a white lion’s enclosure.

Scott-Crossley had fired Chisale from his construction business at the Engedi game farm.

Chisale had been helping with the building of a lodge on the farm when he was fired.

He was killed when he returned to collect some of his ­belongings.

In 2005, the Phalaborwa Circuit Court found Scott-Crossley guilty of murder and handed him a life sentence.
Simon Mathebula was sentenced to 15 years while Mnisi received ­indemnity when he turned state witness.

Richard Mathebula could not stand trial as his health deteriorated until he died in 2006.

Scott-Crossley appealed his sentence and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) set aside his murder conviction for the lesser offence of being an accessory.

It found that Scott-Crossley had only used his bakkie to ­transport Chisale’s body to the ­lion’s enclosure after he had ­already been assaulted and killed by the three co-accused.

The SCA substituted five years’ imprisonment on the lesser offence.

Scott-Crossley was placed on parole in 2008.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.