Stumbling testimony of Molosi murder accused
A large group of residents once again marched to the magistrate’s court last week demanding that the four men arrested in connection with the murder of Knysna town councillor Victor Molosi, not be granted bail.
Molosi was gunned down at his home in Concordia two months ago.
The four accused were scheduled to take the stand to convince the court why it would be in the interest of justice to release them on bail.
First to take the stand was Knysna Taxi Forum secretary Mandla Tyololo, charged with conspiracy to commit murder, however, his application was postponed to be heard separate to that of Knysna councillor Velile Waxa, Knysna municipal official Mawande Makhala and Cape Town resident Vela Patrick Dumile.
Next on the stand was Dumile (37), who said he is epileptic, has another illness that he cannot pronounce and, in what came as a surprise to those who have been following the case, claimed to have a speech impediment (stutter) resulting from an accident that also left his one side weakened. (Later during his testimony he would be leaning on what he said was his weak arm and regain a level of proper speech.)
Dumile’s lawyer Thabo Nogemane requested his client be seated due to a disability, which the magistrate granted.
Dumile contradicted himself explaining how his speech impediment came about. He initially said it was due to an accident in 2010 when his car was suspected to have been involved in a robbery, but directly thereafter said it occurred before the accident. He also said that the police assaulted him after the accident and that he had opened a civil case against them.
When asked if he was assaulted or threatened into signing his police statement in the Molosi case, Dumile said, “They forced me to sign, but never assaulted me.” Hardly five minutes later, he said Wilson “hit me with my belt on my neck and insisted I speak the truth and that I would be accused number one”.
When the state queried why he did not open a case against Wilson, he said it was because he did not sustain injuries.
His defence then questioned him about previous convictions and pending cases, and Dumile stated that he has none, adding confidently, “You can even consult the computer.”
He again told the court about the incident when his vehicle was suspected to have been in a robbery and said the charges against him were dropped. ‘Three other cases’ against Dumile
However, prosecutor Premchard reminded him of a 2009 case – not 2010 as he had said – when he was suspected to have been involved in a cash-in-transit heist and that a warrant was still out for his arrest in that case.
She also reminded him of two other pending matters against him: one related to attempted murder, robbery and possession of a firearm in 2012, and a fraud case in 2014, but Dumile said both cases were withdrawn (which the state is yet to confirm).
Finally, when asked if he was prepared to talk about the merits of the Molosi murder case, but reminded of his right to decline, he opted for the latter.
When asked if he knows his three coaccused, he said he only knows Makhala, who used to visit Cape Town after payday. Asked how he knew when Makhala got paid, a stuttering Dumile replied, “He would buy braai meat.” When Premchard repeated the question, Dumile said, “Because I am friends with his younger brother – I was with him when I got arrested.”
Right to remain silent
Premchard then put it to him that the three accused conspired to commit a crime. “I’d like to not answer that,” Dumile replied. Premchard explained that accused number 2 (Makhala) was tasked by accused 3 (Waxa) to find a killer and that Makhala then looked for a killer who was later identified through a state witness to be Dumile. Dumile chose not to answer.
“After you were identified as the potential killer, a sum of money was discussed… There is confirmation that money was spoken about and exchanged and even when you related how the killing went,” Premchard said, upon which Dumile replied, “I don’t know about the killing, I am not a killer.”
When asked how often he visits Knysna, Dumile said he would not like to say anything “about the Knysna thing”. “Even after the state witness said you were in town before and after the murder?” Premchard asked, but he refused to answer.
So far Dumile is the only accused to have taken the stand, while Makhala signed a document, read by his Legal Aid representative, stating that he intends to plead not guilty and can afford R1 500 bail. The two, together with Waxa, are set to appear in court on 24 October.
“There is confirmation that money was spoken about and exchanged and even when you related how the killing went.”