KNYSNA NEWS - After key witness Luzuko Makhala was declared a hostile witness last week by Judge RCA Henney in the Victor Molosi murder case, the state continued its search for the truth by calling him back to the stand in the Knysna Circuit High Court this week.
This followed after Luzuko – who was set to testify against the *three murder accused, former councillor Velile Waxa, Vela Patrick Dumile and his brother Mawande Makhala who worked for the municipality at the time of the murder – drastically deviated from his original statement (wherein all three accused were implicated in the crime) since the trial began two weeks ago, and the state had to lay a basis for him to be declared hostile.
On Monday 21 October, Luzuko was back in the dock responding to the state's questions. When prosecutor MP Heyns asked him about the contents of his first statement, specifically the call he had allegedly received from his brother saying Waxa wanted him (Mawande) to find someone to "do a job", the witness denied having said that.
Luzuko was reprimanded a couple of times by the court for ducking questions. "We are not stupid, answer the questions or else you're going to get yourself into trouble," warned judge Henney. "I understand you're asked to testify against your brother and if he is convicted you might be responsible for sending him to jail. We're searching for the truth and it's not easy to get to the truth."
Heyns put it to the witness that he only cooperated with the police when he was shown a photo of his car coming from the direction of Cape Town, after he had told the police he was travelling from the Eastern Cape around the time of the murder.
Luzuko denied this too, and said the police merely asked about his journey. He said he never implicated the three men but the reason he never brought this up with the prosecution before the trial was because he had hoped his "lawyer" would tackle that matter on his behalf. (By "lawyer" he meant advocate Fikile Shumi who had been representing his brother Mawande since the latter's high court bail appeal earlier this year but had withdrawn his services by the time of the trial on 7 October. As state witness, Luzuko has indemnity against prosecution and therefore has no need for legal representation.)
According to the prosecutor, on 19 September he and the witness were scheduled to consult at his office in George but Luzuko never showed up, and when he was traced by investigating officer Sergeant Barnard Wilson, the witness allegedly told Wilson he would prefer to communicate through Shumi.
Heyns said it was later established that the witness had been visiting his brother Mawande in prison on the 19th and had also consulted with Shumi.
'Advocate should know better'
"Shumi should've known better," said the judge, "Wilson should've arrested him for interfering with the witness."
Heyns continued: "On 30 September when you came back from the Eastern Cape you told us that Shumi told you not to come for that consultation because you were going to be arrested." The witness replied that Shumi had shown him a list of all the witnesses and his name wasn't on the list which he took as confirmation of Shumi's warning. But Heyns responded, "At the bottom of the list it is written some of the witnesses names are withheld and your name was one of those."
The prosecutor went on to put it to Luzuko that on that day he was still willing to testify but expressed his guilt that his brother was the one behind bars whereas he (Luzuko) might've played a larger role than Mawande in the commission of the crime. "My coming to Knysna led to my brother's arrest, that's why I felt guilty and the fact that I came with the wrong person," replied Luzuko. (The person he was referring to was alleged hitman Dumile who he, in his original statement, said had accompanied him to Knysna around the time of the murder.)
'A child's story'
Judge Henney said Luzuko suggesting his brother was arrested merely because he came to Knysna was laughable, adding, "It's like a child telling a story."
Heyns placed on record that after Luzuko made his original statement, he called Mawande to warn him. "I called and told him he was going to be arrested and if he was arrested in connection with a political killing the members of the community would go to his house," Luzuko replied.
By the time of going to print, Luzuko was being cross-examined by the defence.
* The three men are also charged with conspiracy to commit the murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm after Molosi was gunned down outside his home in Concordia last year.
Read previous articles:
- State witness declared a hostile witness
- Molosi murder trial continues
- Chief state witness turns hostile
- 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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