State witness accused of lying

2013-03-13 22:34
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

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Nelspruit - Three men accused of involvement in taxi violence in the 1990s on Wednesday denied knowing a State witness testifying against them in a Mpumalanga court.

Hendrik Potgieter, acting for Samuel "Vuyo" Manganye, Calvin Lubisi and Mfanufikile "Mamelodi" Mbonani, in the Nelspruit circuit of the High Court, said the witness, Michael Grey, lied.

Grey testified against the three accused on Tuesday.

"I put it on record that Manganye doesn't know this witness at all. Lubisi knows him after he saw him at Marite [taxi rank], and knows nothing about the hit squad and the killings of Thulani Reckson Ncube, Sifiso Ndlovu and Abaneel Mokoena," Potgieter said.

He said Mbonani also did not know Grey.

"All of my clients say the witness is a liar and is talking nonsense."

The three are facing 12 charges that include three counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, illegal possession of 9mm pistols and revolvers, illegal possession of AK-47 rifles and ammunition, and pointing a firearm.

The men deny involvement in the murders and shootings associated with taxi violence in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, Grey, 41, who is serving a 27-year jail term in Barberton, told the court he killed more than 20 people during the taxi war that raged in Gauteng and Mpumalanga in the 1990s.

Manganye was then the president of the Federated Local and Long Distance Taxi Association (Felldta), which had offices in Pretoria.

Lubisi and Mbonani managed the Successful United Taxi Association (Suta), affiliated with Felldta, and operated between Mbombela, Hazyview, and Bushbuckridge.

During cross-examination on Wednesday, Grey told the court that Lubisi was the one who had issued instructions for shootings and that they usually met him at the Marite taxi rank offices.

He said Manganye was SA Local and Long Distance Taxi Association (Salldta) president at the time, and that he knew everything about the hit squad.

Taxi war

The taxi war was between Felldta, Salldta and its smaller affiliates.

Grey said after his conviction, Lubisi and Manganye visited him in Barberton Prison in 1999 and told him they heard that police were investigating them.

"Lubisi had a brother who was serving a jail term and when he visited him, he called for me. Both men told me during their visits that I should not implicate them in the case after they heard from their sources that I had been talking to police."

Grey testified on Tuesday that Lubisi hired him and that he was instructed to work as a hitman with three other men, and that Mbonani was their driver.

He said they were given loaded firearms that included Z88 9mm pistols, AK-47 rifles and a revolver, and paid R1 200 per successful hit.

Justice Elias Matojane postponed the case to Thursday.

Read more on:    polokwane

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