Coligny murder trial: Case postponed over ill witness

2018-06-08 16:16
The key witness in the Coligny murder trial Bonakele Pakisi. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

The key witness in the Coligny murder trial Bonakele Pakisi. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Proceedings in the Coligny murder trial have stalled after a key witness said on Friday that he was not feeling well and could not testify.

"I am feeling feverish and it is cold in court. My depression medication has also finished," Bonakele Pakisi told North West High Court Judge Ronnie Hendricks.

Judge Hendricks postponed the matter to Monday, June 11, to allow Pakisi time to recuperate.

Pakisi is the only person who claims to have witnessed 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu being thrown from a moving vehicle.

He has spent two days in the High Court in Mafikeng testifying in the trial of Pieter Doorewaard, 27, and Philip Schutte, 34.

The men are accused of killing Matlhomola in Coligny last year. The pair claim they caught the teenager stealing a sunflower on April 20, 2017.

Gunshots from the sunflower field

Doorewaard and Schutte said they intended driving him to the local police station, but he jumped off their bakkie along the way and broke his neck.

Pakisi had earlier told the court that on the day of the incident he heard gunshots coming from the sunflower field.

He also claimed that he heard Matlhomola crying and screaming: "Mama help, I am dying."

Pakisi said he saw the accused assaulting Matlhomola and then saw them throw him from a moving vehicle. He said when the accused saw him, they apparently asked him what he had seen.

"I told them I saw nothing," he testified.

Pakisi also alleged that the accused drove him around with Matlhomola, who was severely injured.

"He (Matlhomola) was injured on the face. He was bleeding through his mouth, nose and ears. I couldn't speak to him because I was told to lie down," he said.

Contradictions in testimony

However, on Thursday, the defence accused Pakisi of lying under oath and contradicting his initial statement to the police.

Under cross-examination by advocate Hennie du Plessis, for Doorewaard, Pakisi told the court how Matlhomola lay in the vehicle while he was severely injured.

"When the van was moving and shaking, you could see blood coming from his mouth. A lot of blood was flowing," Pakisi testified.

In an attempt to punch holes in his testimony, Du Plessis asked Pakisi about the routes the accused used when they drove him around with Matlhomola.

He accused Pakisi of contradicting himself about certain locations he was taken to and said his testimony was different from what he had initially said in his statement.

"I put it to you that you are not telling the truth. You are changing your versions," Du Plessis told Pakisi.

"No, it is not true," Pakisi replied.

'You keep changing your versions'

Pakisi said he was not happy with the first statement he made to Warrant Officer Popo Seponkane, claiming that it was never read back to him.

He also said it included information that he did not mention.

Pakisi had earlier painted Seponkane as an officer who may have been grossly negligent in the case.

READ: Cop told me that evidence had disappeared, says witness

He claimed that Seponkane failed to gather crucial evidence after he showed him where Matlhomola had been thrown from a moving bakkie. Instead, the officer allegedly told him that the evidence he had pointed out had "disappeared".

He said the only statement that was correct was the one he gave to Colonel Petrus Nkosi.

"I read the second statement, they even read it to me and I understood the content."

But Du Plessis read out parts of the statement that was apparently taken by Colonel Nkosi and that mentions other places the accused apparently drove to with Pakisi and Matlhomola.

However, Pakisi said some of the facts mentioned in the statement were incorrect.

"You keep changing your versions," Du Plessis said.

Matlhomola's death sparked protests in the area with some residents saying he was killed because he was black. Several houses and businesses were burnt to the ground.

The accused have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, intimidation, kidnapping, theft, the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and pointing a firearm.

Doorewaard and Schutte are out on R5 000 bail each.


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