Daily Dispatch

State spokesman Kupelo ‘death threats’ trial begins


THE trial of an alleged hitman hired to kill Eastern Cape government spokesman Sizwe Kupelo and Ngcobomedi­cal doctor Litha Mboyana began in East London’s regional court yesterday.

Mboyana told magistrate Nomthandaz­o Vabaza that the accused, Wellington Gaxela, had approached him in 2013 saying he had been hired to kill him for R80 000. He said Gaxela told him he had to pay to stop the contract from taking place, which he did. Gaxela has pleaded not guilty to a charge of extortion. He has been in custody since his arrest in 2014. His lawyer, Ntsikelelo Manyisane, said Mboyana was fabricatin­g the story.

Kupelo told the court he started receiving death threats in February 2014, both by voice and by text.

On March 1 2014 he received a call stating: “Hey you small boy you did not come as I instructed you (from the February call). I am in Mthatha now looking for you to kill you.”

Kupelo responded: “You say you have been hired to kill me [but] instead of carrying out that instructio­n you are busy calling me. You are a coward. I’m not scared of death – one day you will also die.”

He switched off his phone reported the matter to police.

Kupelo will be cross-examined this morning. and

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