Mamasela says he ran from police to protect his family

2011-03-31 07:38

The high court in Johannesburg heard that apartheid hit man Joe Mamasela ran from the police for three days because he wanted to ensure his wife and child were comfortable before he went to jail, The New Age newspaper reported today.

“I was a policeman once. I know how they work, those people. If I had been arrested on that day, I would have stayed in custody for three days before going to court. And where would my wife and child have been at that time,” he said, much to shock of his alleged victim’s family seated in the gallery.

Mamasela was testifying in the murder trial against him.

He is accused of shooting his landlord, Lali Nhlapho, in Soweto, last year. He testified that he had earlier obtain an order preventing Nhlapho from evicting and intimidating him.

On the day of the shooting, he claimed Nhlapho came to the house with two men armed with guns.

“I heard a click sound and saw him cocking the gun. I would not have shot him if he had not cocked the gun,” he said when asked what made him think he was in danger.

“It was a matter of life and death, and it was my life,” he said.

Although several state witnesses have said that Nhlapho was unarmed and shot at point blank, Mamasela’s friend, Pius Mokoena, testified that the two men had “struggled for the gun” and that the accused had eventually overpowered the deceased.

The trial continues.

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