I lied, no I didn't! - Coligny murder witness changes his story... again

2019-01-22 13:30
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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The self-proclaimed eyewitness in the Coligny murder case claimed he was intimidated into "confessing" to lying in court, the Sowetan reported on Tuesday.

According to that newspaper, the witness said he was intimidated and forced to read a confession to clear the names of Pieter Doorewaard, 27, and Phillip Schutte, 34, who were convicted of killing 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu by throwing him from a from a bakkie in April 2017.

The men claimed that the teen jumped from their van while they drove to a police station to report that he had stolen sunflower heads worth R60.

On January 16, they were found guilty of his murder and kidnapping, as well as charges of intimidation, theft, and pointing a firearm, News24 reported.

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

On Sunday, Rapport newspaper reported that the witness, Bonakele Pakisi, admitted that he lied to court.

Pakisi testified during the trial, while under cross-examination by advocate Pieter Smit: "He was thrown the first time and I was watching... I took the police to the scene and I explained that it appeared that the child was thrown from the vehicle again and again [because] the vehicle would move and then stop."

He was the only person who claimed he saw Moshoeu being thrown from the vehicle.

Admitted to lying

But this weekend, according to Rapport, Mahikeng preacher Paul Morule said Pakisi admitted to lying in court.

In January, Morule reportedly recorded Pakisi in a Spur restaurant in Mahikeng. Speaking Tswana, Morule told him: "I wasn't there when it happened. I didn't see anything," according to Rapport.

The newspaper reported Pakisi also confessed to an attorney, Kobus Burger.

"I am a man of God and I can't allow two men to go to jail for murder when they're innocent," Morule reportedly said.

Morule is reportedly an employee of Doorewaard's uncle, Pieter Karsten, who also employed both convicted men. However, according to Rapport, Morule asserted that his connection to the men was unrelated to his claims.

On Monday, however, Pakisi told Sowetan that one of the convicted killers' employers allegedly offered him R3m to change his statement.

Pakisi reportedly said that he was shown a firearm and forced to read a prepared statement "confessing" to having lied in court.

According to Sowetan, Pakisi said an unknown man (Morule) came to his house on January 7 and told him that State advocate Rapule Molefe wanted to see him in Mahikeng.

He said he then drove with that man and was given R1 000 on arrival in Mahikeng to "buy himself anything nice" while waiting for Molefe.

Pakisi reportedly said he found Karsten and Morule waiting for him when he returned.

Offered R3m to participate

According to Pakisi, the two men gave him a piece of paper containing a confession that he was forced to read out while being recorded.

Pakisi was reportedly offered R3m and a house if he participated. His life was also threatened, Pakisi claimed. 

Karsten has denied Pakisi's claims.

Pakisi reportedly went to the local police station and said "one of the accused's relatives" forced him to lie on the recording. 

Pakisi was reportedly kept in witness protection for the duration of the trial and was released in August.

Since then, he was reportedly attacked at his home about two weeks ago.

Pakisi was also assaulted by three men last Friday, but this was a separate incident involving a woman, who was the girlfriend of one of the attackers, according to police.

Morule told Sowetan on Monday that he had leaked the recording to Rapport and that Pakisi had also confessed to Burger. 

North West police spokesperson Sam Tselanyane confirmed to Sowetan that Pakisi had opened a case of intimidation.

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Read more on:    matlhomola moshoeu  |  bonakele pakisi  |  bloemfontein  |  courts

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