No reason for witness to fear for life - defence

2015-07-30 18:15
Mido Macia (Picture: AP)

Mido Macia (Picture: AP)

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Pretoria - There was no reason for State witness Warrant Officer Mpumzi Ngamlana to fear for his life and omit key information in several statements about the murder of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Ngamlana, who was under cross examination by defence lawyer Marius van Wyngaardt, had told the court of six statements he had made to authorities about what had happened to Macia in the Daveyton police cells on February 26 2013.

However, it was only his sixth and final statement that had contained the full story, he said.

Before then, he had not given a full account because he said he had feared for his life. The sixth statement contained allegations of Ngamlana preventing one of the officers striking Macia with a plastic chair, while a new allegation that Macia had been struck with an open hand only emerged in his testimony on Wednesday.

Said Wyngaardt to Ngamlana: "Sir, I want to put it to you that... all nine accused in this matter were arrested on March 1 2013 and were only released on bail - if I have my facts correct -  on August 13 2013."

When Judge Bert Bam asked Van Wyngaardt where he was going with his assertion, he replied: "I'm just going to put it to the witness he had no reason to fear the accused, as they were in custody."

He said the first four of Ngamlana's statements were all deposed before the nine had been released on bail.

'No reason to fear them'

"There was no reason whatsoever for you to have feared them," Van Wyngaardt said.

Thamsanqa Ncema, Linda Sololo, Meshack Malele, Motome Walter Ramatlou, Percy Mnisi, Bongumusa Mdluli, Sipho Ngobeni, Lungisa Ewababa, and Bongani Kolisi were arrested after a video showing Macia being tied to the back of a police van and dragged down Eiselen Street in Daveyton went viral and caused public outrage.

Police say they had a confrontation with Macia when he refused to move his taxi, which was obstructing traffic.

Macia was found dead in the police holding cells several hours later. A post-mortem found he had died from a lack of oxygen. The police has denied playing any part in Macia's death and claimed he was alive when he was put in the cell.

Ngamlana went on to tell Van Wyngaardt there was also a second reason why he withheld information.

"I was also afraid of allegations made about me. For example, on July 23 2013, there is an entry in the [observance book] made by Captain Maweza at Daveyton where he mentioned... I sold out some members," Ngamlana said.

Further, he had heard something from his relief commander, a Warrant Officer Mofo, along the same lines.

Van Wyngaardt said: "If that was so, that was done long after you'd made the statements. I want to put it to you sir the only reason why you have implicated the accused... except now accused number one [Malele] is because you are scared. You know you did not do your job and you want to protect yourself."

Ngamlana replied: "No. I'm testifying about what happened."

Ngamlana was the cell commander at the police station.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    mido macia  |  johannesburg  |  crime
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