Moss Phakoe’s children left numb by ‘justice’

2014-06-22 15:00

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Moss Phakoe’s son wants to meet President Jacob Zuma and ask why there’s been no justice for his father.

“Do people get their life cut short for being too loyal to the ANC, or was my ­father’s honesty, which cost him his life, all in vain?” Papiki Phakoe asked on Friday after the two men convicted of murdering his father in 2009 were exonerated of the crime and freed.

Phakoe was a Cosatu leader and councillor in the Rustenburg municipality and blew the whistle on the alleged corruption and fraud there.

He was gunned down in the driveway of his Rustenburg North home on March 14 2009.

Phakoe was found with two bullet wounds to his head and his body was left slumped over the steering wheel of his car.

The Supreme Court of Appeal, sitting in ­Mahikeng, cleared former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans and his former bodyguard, Enoch Matshaba. The court overturned their convictions and sentences?–?20 years and life ­behind bars, respectively.

While the supporters of the acquitted left the court in high spirits and ready to celebrate, ­Phakoe’s three children – Karabo, Papiki and Tshepiso – were “shocked and left numb”.

Papiki said: “All these years we have waited to find closure and anticipated it on Thursday, but in the end we went back home highly dejected.”

The siblings feel that their father’s beloved political home has left them stranded.

“My father died in a Vote ANC T-shirt. He was shot dead in his car, which was full of ANC election posters after just returning from campaigning for the party he was loyal to and loved so much.

“Who do I look up to when things are not going well now that he is gone? That is why my siblings and I would love to meet President Zuma and ask him if my father’s contribution to the ANC and its good name was in vain.”

Wolmarans’ lawyer, Raphepheng Mataka, said they were always confident they would win the case.

He said that two witnesses had recanted their initial testimonies on which Wolmarans and Matshaba were convicted.

Mataka said Wolmarans and his family were still recovering from the “trauma” they had been through.

He and his client will meet this week to consider their next step. Mataka would not be drawn on whether this might ­involve legal action against the state.

Frank Lesenyego, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in North West, said the organisation was still studying the judgment and could not comment yet.

The state’s application to have Wolmarans’ sentence ­increased to life imprisonment was also dismissed as part of Thursday’s ruling.

Phakoe’s murder is now officially unsolved.

Police did not respond to questions on Thursday and Friday about when or whether the case would be reopened.

Phakoe’s close friend, Alfred Motsi?–?now the Economic Freedom Fighters chairperson in North West?–?is devastated.

Motsi accompanied Phakoe to Nkandla in December 2008, shortly before Christmas, to present Zuma with a dossier that the two had claimed proved widespread corruption in the Rustenburg municipality.

Motsi told City Press he was disappointed that there had not yet been justice for Phakoe and that “our combined efforts to expose graft were seemingly in vain”.

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