'I lied to save my own skin'

2006-07-18 11:48

Cape Town - Former Western Cape environment MEC David Malatsi lied to a Scorpions investigator in order to save his own skin, the Bellville regional court was told on Tuesday.

Malatsi - in the witness box for the fifth day in succession - was being questioned by prosecutor Bruce Morrison on a 234-page statement he gave to the Scorpions in 2003.

He said he had agreed to the interview because his advocate misled him into believing the Scorpions were only after his co-accused, former Western Cape premier Peter Marais and alleged mafia figure Vito Palazzolo.

"On hindsight I think it was exercise to entrap me... to incriminate myself," he said.

He said he told investigating officer JB Kotze what he understands Kotze wanted to hear.

"To save your own skin?" asked Morrison.

"Yes," replied Malatsi.

Morrison said he would probably apply to reopen the State's case and call the advocate Pete Mihalik to give his side of the story.

Malatsi and Marais face a charge of corruption related to R400 000 in donations to the New National Party from Italian Count Riccardo Agusta.

The State says the money was meant to smooth the way for provincial approval of Agusta's Roodefontein Gold Estate development at Plettenberg Bay.