Police framed me, claims accused in brutal murder

High court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
High court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Mbombela - A man accused of killing Mpumalanga farmer Adriaan van der Berg during a robbery in 2014, has told a high court judge that the police colonel who wrote out his confession statement had framed him.

Solomon Mabaso, 34, and his co-accused Nhlanhla Shongwe, 29, both from Matsulu near Mbombela, were arrested following the murder of the farm owner at his Malalane house during a robbery on May 29 2014.

The deceased, who lived alone, was strangled to death with a curtain, and a number of items including clothes, electric appliances, furniture and his Nissan bakkie were stolen.  

Mabaso told Judge Brian Mashile in the Nelspruit Circuit Local Division of the Eastern Circuit District Court on Friday that he did not say anything to Colonel Mavimbela from Malalane Police Station when the colonel had written out his confession statement on June 2014.

“Colonel Mavimbela is the one who wrote the statement. He is the one knew more about the crime because I did not say anything. I only agreed with him and signed because I was afraid I would be assaulted if I refused to do as he asked,” the accused said.

Surprised

State prosecutor Advocate Sonja Ntuli asked the accused whether he meant that Colonel Mavimbela could be one of the perpetrators.

“Are you saying that the police colonel was also involved in the commission of the crime?” Ntuli asked.

“No. But the way he wrote the statement indicates he knew what exactly had taken place. I never said anything because I was not present,” said the accused.

The accused further said he was also surprised that his sister, Aida Makhushe, testified that on May 30 2014, he and her deceased boyfriend Bheki Mncina, 29, had brought a fridge to her house that was reported stolen from the farm house.

He claimed the stolen laptop, dryer and radio found by police in his room, were given to him by Mncina.

“According to your confession, you met with Mncina, Shongwe and a fourth suspect who is also deceased at your barbershop on 28 May 2014, a day before the robbery. How did the colonel know about this meeting?” Ntuli asked.

“I usually spend time at my barbershop and that was where my friends usually found me,” said the accused. He said he was surprised that Shongwe told the police that he took part in attacking and tying up the farm owner.

Ntuli asked the court to find the two men guilty. He said all evidence, including their confession statements, proved they planned the robbery and knew the living condition of the deceased.

Mashile postponed the case to August 15.

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