Testimony of state witness challenged in Macia case

2015-07-29 13:15
The nine policemen linked to the death of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

The nine policemen linked to the death of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

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Pretoria - The credibility of the state's second witness in the trial of nine Daveyton policemen accused of killing Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Macia, was challenged in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Mahlatse Sekwati, who recorded a video showing part of the confrontation between Macia and police - first seen on Tuesday - was told by defence lawyer Marius van Wyngaardt she was not present on the scene prior to the start of the video.

"Am I correct... there is no indication whatsoever that the licence of the deceased was ever handed over either to accused one or two?" he said.

"Yes, because I did not take the video for that reason," Sekwati replied.

Pressed as to why she made the recording on her phone on February 26, 2013, Sekwati said it appeared Macia and the uniformed police officer were going to fight.

She said Macia was demanding his licence back and the police officer was refusing to give it to him.

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

Police said 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. He was wearing his underwear and socks and his trousers were later found in another part of the police station.

A post-mortem found he died from a lack of oxygen. The police have denied playing any part in Macia's death, and have claimed he was alive when he was put in the cell.

Different testimony

Wyngaardt put it to Sekwati that her testimony during his cross-examination was different from the testimony she gave during her evidence in chief on Tuesday.

Sekwati had told the court she was at her mother's fruit and vegetable stand on Eiselen Street when the confrontation between Macia and the police started.

Wyngaardt then asked her about the conversation she reportedly heard between Macia and the police.

Sekwati, through an interpreter, replied she only heard the part where the policeman asked for Macia's licence. "When they were seen at the motor vehicle, I could not hear what was said."

Following further prodding from Wyngaardt, Sekwati confirmed the conversation she was referring to was when one policeman, in plain clothes, had already driven away in Macia's Avanza. Macia and a uniformed officer were standing in the road arguing over Macia's licence. 

This version of her testimony differed from what Sekwati told the court on Tuesday, Wyngaardt pointed out.

"You indicated to the court there was an argument. The deceased asked the two police officers why they approached him, because his vehicle was standing at the back. You also said at that stage, the deceased [Macia], was aggressive."

Sekwati replied: "When I stated that he [Macia] was aggressive, I was referring to the stage when they were standing, not the incident at the motor vehicle."

Wyngaardt shortly afterwards put it to Sekwati she was not present when the confrontation between Macia and police began.

Following a brief interjection by Judge Bert Bam, Sekwati said, "Those are lies." 

While she stuck to her story that the police van was moved to the front because they wanted to put Macia into the van, Wyngaardt told the court the vehicle was never moved.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    police  |  mido macia  |  johannesburg  |  police brutality

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