Setback for murder-convicted ex-mayor

2013-07-31 10:44

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Former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans’ bid to have his murder conviction overturned has suffered a setback.

The North West High Court on Monday dismissed Wolmarans’ application to lead the further evidence of a key state witness who testified against Wolmarans and his co-accused, Enoch Matshaba.

Wolmarans and Matshaba, his bodyguard, were convicted of the murder of councillor Moss Phakoe in July last year.

Both were released on bail in May this year, when the court heard that a key state witness, Emmanuel Masoka, apparently wanted to recant the evidence he had given in his affidavit and in court.

Masoka testified that Wolmarans had confessed to him about the murder when they shared a jail cell.

But in January Masoka made a new affidavit, in which he claimed his evidence had been a lie.

“I lied in the statement I made to the police and court,” Masoka said in an affidavit, which was reported on by the Mail & Guardian.

He also said that police had offered him freedom and money in exchange for the falsified testimony.

When Wolmarans and Matshaba were granted bail in May, Judge Ronnie Hendricks specifically mentioned that it was “brought to the attention of this court that one of the state witnesses during the trial, Emmanuel Masoka, recanted his original statement and viva voce (oral) evidence tendered during the trial,” said Hendricks.

It was on this basis that Womarans and Matshaba were released on R100 000 bail each in May.

But on Monday, a full bench of the North West High Court dismissed Wolmarans’ application to lead Masoka’s further evidence.

Frank Lesenyego, NPA spokesperson for North West, confirmed that a date for the full hearing of their appeal was still to be arranged, now that their application to lead further evidence had been dismissed.

Wolmarans and Matshaba remain released on bail.

» This story was updated after first published to correct the bail amount. Bail was set at R100 000, not R10 000.

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