Murder planned in prison, court hears
Tom de Wet, Volksblad
IOL: 05-01-2011: 235km/h MEC’s fine partly suspended
VIRGINIA. – Witnesses told the High Court about how a group, including a few policemen, planned the murder of a well known businessman and farmer from Wesselsbron and two police investigating officials, from the prison in Odendaalsrus.
They also testified about how different prisoners were told to go and draw blood in the place of others, in order for the murders to be arranged.
This occurred irrespective of the fact that one of the main witnesses for the state has dissapeared between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, when he was required to testify.
Another testified how he was threatened in prison that he would be sodomized if he did not join the groups murder conspiracy, who are accused of conspiracy to murder Mr. Carel Marais and Insp. Nico Smith and Insp. Lizelle Herbst of the Hawks.
Mr. Lucas Kgobe, who was imprisoned on charges of rape, informed Judge S.P.B. Hancke how Insp. Japhta Kgothule (policeman brother of Free State arts and culture MEC Dan Kgothule), with whom he was imprisoned, was the spokesperson of the groups conspiracy.
He was approached by Mr. Godfrey Molefi (the witness who has since dissapeared) with information about “work” that Kghothule and his conspirators had for him. Molefi said that the work involved assassinating the complainant and the investigating officials in the accuseds case.
He was taken with Molefi to the other cell where Kgothule said he would make sure that Kgobe's bail was paid, so that they could get out to do the “work”.
Bail was not arranged for Molefi, who is also charged with rape, and Kgothule told him to get someone else, who could go in his place to draw blood, so that he could be released.
Kbobe testified that he told Kgothule that he does not know the people whom he is required to murder, and Kgothule informed him that everything had been arranged.
He and Molefi later withdrew from the conspiracy and were threatened by Kgothule, who was furious. Subsequent to Kgobe's release from prison he was beaten with sticks by three men which required him to be hospitalized. He testified he fears for his life.
Mr. Gift Kabuoe testified how he was forced by Molefi to go and get blood drawn in his place, and about threats that he would be sodomized if he did not follow the orders.
Shortly thereafter he was transferred to the prison in Virginia, where he received a letter from Molefi, wherein he was informed about Kgothule's and his conspirators plans to murder Marais, Smith and Herbst.
The letter was submitted to the court by Adv. Antoinette Ferreira, Prosecutor for the State, as evidence.
In the letter Molefi writes that they would each receive R10,000 for the murder, as well as additional money thereafter. The hired assassins would be supplied with weapons.
The accused are Mr. Molehane Mabuza from Wesselsbron, Faan Rossouw (homeless and former police informant from Welkom), Andrew Scheepers (Funeral Undertaker from Christiana), Barney Booysen (homeless from Christiana), Insp. Xolisile Blom, Insp. Jabulane Xaba, Insp. Japhta Kgothule, Insp. Steven Mtwala, Mr. Sechaba Masiane and Insp. Sello Mtsala.
All pleading not guilty to charges of robbery, armed robbery, conspiracy to murder, pretending to be police officers, and of the use of a vehicle without permission.
» » » » [Volksblad]
State witness attacked on farm
Tom de Wet, Volksblad
Bloemfontein - A usually calm Jack Russell probably saved the lives of a Wesselsbron farmer and his wife on Monday morning, when it started barking wildly in the garden, alerting them to a problem.
Carel Marais, 59, a farmer and businessman, says the incident on his farm was no ordinary robbery or farm attack.
He says the four armed men were there to kill him to prevent him from testifying in one of the most controversial corruption trials in the Free State to date.
One of the defendants in the case is the brother of a Free State MEC.
Paid to kill
"There is no doubt in my mind that the four men - who each had R1 000 on them when they were arrested - were paid to kill me."
The nine accused in the trial will appear in the Free State High Court sitting in Virginia on January 24. Apparently the accused had threatened earlier to have Marais murdered along with one of the chief investigating officers, Inspector Nico Smith.
Marais is the State's primary witness. The police have already obtained statements from the prison at Odendaalsrus about the plan to murder Marais.
Marais says when he and his wife, Ina, woke up on Monday morning, she told him there was a bird in the garden making a very strange sound.
They later realised this was the suspects' way of communicating with each other.
When Marais went outside, his Jack Russell was barking and jumping up and down near shrubs in the corner of their garden. As he approached he saw someone pointing a firearm at him through the plants.
Marais whipped out his own firearm and fired a shot. He ran around a concrete wall to find shelter, but instead ran into the other attackers.
His firearm jammed and he yelled for his wife to lock the house. He then ran back in through the back door and immediately called for help on the Marnet radio.
Neighbours were there within five minutes, and the four suspects were arrested by a group of farmers within half an hour, about 2km from the farmstead. Their firearms were missing.
Mmako Mophiring, spokesperson for the police unit against organised crime, the Hawks, said the four suspects are all from Gauteng. Their vehicle has been seized.
They have been charged with trespassing and pointing a firearm.
» » » » [News 24]
No protection for State witness
Bloemfontein - Police will not give Free State farmer Carel Marais personal protection, despite his claims that his life is in danger due to a fraud case in which he is a witness.
"We will not give (Marais) 24-hour protection," police spokesperson Colonel Motantsi Makhele said on Wednesday.
Four men allegedly trespassed on Marais's farm near Wesselsbron on Monday and pointed a gun at him. Marais raised the alarm, neighbours rushed to help and the four were caught and their vehicle confiscated. No firearm was found.
On Wednesday, Marais, 59, said he was convinced the incident had to do with a fraud case against a group of men, some of whom are former Welkom policemen, due to go to trial in January 2011.
Marais told Sapa the latest incident was an attempt to "take him out" because he was the main witness in the case.
"They were paid, because R1 000 was found on each of them," he claimed.
Marais said the fraud case related to an incident about two years ago when he was kidnapped - according to him by policemen.
Makhele said the allegations against the four would be investigated.
Provincial police had confidence in rural security structures in the region and supported farm security units and patrols, he said.
Marais said before Monday Wesselsbron police management had accused him of "paranoia" in his quest for police protection. He did not expect direct help from them, he said.
"I have been relying heavily of the rural safety structures and will do so in future."
His workers and neighbouring farmers were on high alert in the meantime.
The Freedom Front Plus in the Free State had called on police to protect Marais.
Party spokesperson Jan van Niekerk said Marais being threatened and policemen allegedly being involved in the fraud case is enough reason for police to provide protection.
» » » » [News 24]