KNYSNA NEWS - The key witness in the state's case against the three men accused of the murder last year of Knysna ANC councillor Victor Molosi may be declared a hostile witness after drastically deviating from his original statement while testifying over the past week.
The three accused, former Knysna councillor Velile Waxa, Mawande Makhala and Vela Patrick Dumile all pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm in the trial that commenced in the Knysna Circuit High Court on 7 October.
In an unexpected turn of events, Luzuko Makhala, who as state witness was expected to testify against his brother Mawande, detailed trivialities in the time leading up to the murder and the day of the murder itself – but not how the murder was orchestrated and how the whole crime unfolded.
The onus is now on the prosecution to prove that Luzuko is a hostile witness.
In his original statement, the witness told how he had allegedly received a call from his brother who he said informed him that Waxa wanted him (Mawande) to find someone to "do a job" and that someone from the Knysna council must be killed. He alleged how he had picked up his brother in Knysna, details of the job were discussed and how Waxa had sent him money through Shoprite's Money Market. He continued to relay his and alleged hitman Dumile's journey to Knysna – all the details right down to the night of the murder.
During his evidence-in-chief, Luzuko duly detailed his journey to Knysna which was consistent with the details in the original statement, except there was no mention of the crime and no evidence implicating any of the accused men came out of testimony. This then led to Judge RCA Henney questioning the relevance of his testimony, and saying that the rules of evidence require it to be relevant and that he (Henney) is not interested in what Makhala ate, drank or how many girlfriends he had.
The judge added that it was clear to everyone that the witness was lying and that the prosecution would have never called him to the stand if his testimony was not going to advance the state's case.
State prosecutor MP Heyns told the court his witness deviated from his original statement and asked that this first version be considered as the true one.
Witness pleads duress
But the witness, who is a police reservist, told the court he made the original statement under duress, that information was fed to him by the police and he merely gave them answers that would satisfy them.
The policeman who took down Luzuko's statement, Colonel Bambelela Ngxaki, then testified that he had no prior knowledge of or information on anything to do about the case or the witness, that all the information was generated by the witness and that after having read it back to Luzuko, the latter indicated he was satisfied with how the statement was recorded.
So far, the state has called four witnesses to the stand, including Luzuko and Ngxaki. A woman who said she only knows Luzuko as "Jomo", Nozuko Kameni, recounted the night of the murder, saying he was at her home visiting her daughter when they heard three loud bangs which sounded like fireworks to her, but Luzuko told her these were actual guns shots. She also told how the witness had received a call after the shots and asked the person on the other end, "Are you done, mlungu wam?"( loosely translated as, "Are you done, my boss?").
The fourth witness, Warrant Officer Anna-Marie van Niekerk, who was called to give an analysis of the cellphone records pertaining to Luzuko and his co-accused, was still testifying at the time of going to print.
Read previous articles:
- Day 3 of the Victor Molosi murder trial
- Molosi murder trial continues
- Molosi murder: Accused plead not guilty
- Molosi murder trial commences
- Molosi murder trial continues in George
- Picketing outside George court
- Bail hearing causes traffic backup
- Who is funding these accused
- Molosi still mobilising community
- Remembering Molosi
- Remembering Victor Molosi
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