Contradictory witness accounts in ‘baboon’ trial

2011-09-08 00:00

THE advocate acting for a security official charged with crimen injuria for allegedly calling a security guard a “baboon” last year has applied for the accused to be discharged at the end of the state’s case.

Advocate Shane Matthews, representing Derrick Cross (56), submitted in argument before magistrate C. Zungu yesterday that the evidence of state witnesses was unsatisfactory and contradictory and said they had effectively destroyed each other’s versions. The court will give a ruling on September 15.

It was put to witnesses in cross-examination that Cross denies that he called security guard Nhlanhla Mbanjwa, an employee of Fidelity Guards, a “baboon” during an incident at the Parklane shopping centre on November 10 last year. Cross confiscated Mbanjwa’s cellphone because he allegedly used it in contravention of company policy while on duty guarding ATM machines.

Mbanjwa’s supervisor, Andrew Clarke, who was a state witness, testified that Mbanjwa reported to him that Cross took away his cellphone and claimed he had merely been using the phone to check if it was time to take his tablet.

In reply to questions by the defence, he confirmed that Mbanjwa never complained to him that Cross had called him a “baboon” on that occasion.

An employee at the shopping centre, Bethwell Zondi, testified that he was present when Cross came up to Mbanjwa and grabbed his cellphone saying, “Don’t you listen, baboon?”

Matthews suggested during cross-examination that Zondi’s evidence contradicted Mbanjwa’s version, that the incident occurred while Zondi had been trying to draw money at an ATM.

Zondi said it in fact occurred some time after he had tried to draw money early that morning and had a problem in doing so.

A shop steward of the Metal and Allied Workers’ Union, Sifiso Ntshangase, to whom Mbanjwa allegedly reported that Cross called him a “baboon”, was taxed in cross-examination about an allegation that he is facing an inquiry by Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and has already been dismissed over allegations that he and a colleague had lodged a “fraudulent grievance” against Cross bearing forged signatures.

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