‘Due to the urgency of the matter I have decided to represent myself’
ONE OF the accused who is standing trial for the murder of Danielskuil DA councillor, Johannes Baatjies, and a family friend, Jeffrey Nouse, will be making another attempt to obtain bail in the Northern Cape High Court next week.
The accused – Richard Hasane, Tshame Frank Baxane, Zonizelo Richard Magawu, Thompson Mncedisi Mphondomisa and Matthews Legodu – have all pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping and the illegal possession of a .9mm firearm and ammunition.
Baatjies’ body was found on the road between Danielskuil and Postmasburg with multiple gunshot wounds, a day before he was to be sworn in as a councillor at the Kgatelopele Municipality in 2016.
Nouse was found with gunshots to the face and died in hospital a few days later.
Magawu, who represented himself in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday, explained that the matter had to be heard this week on an urgent basis, as he risked losing his job if he remained in custody.
“My attorney who is representing me in the criminal matter, is not available and could not assist with this application.
“It would also require money and it would be a long process to make another application to Legal Aid South Africa.”
He added that he did not want his legal representative to represent him on this matter.
“My contract will be terminated this week if I am not back at work. Due to the urgency of the matter I have decided to represent myself. I gave instructions to my attorney but he did not adhere to it.”
Senior state prosecutor Advocate Hannes Cloete argued that the matter was not urgent and stated that the application had not been prepared in a proper manner.
“Magawu will have to establish new grounds on which to base his application in the Northern Cape High Court. Alternatively, he should appeal the outcome of the most recent judgement on his bail application in the Supreme Court of Appeal.”
Acting Northern Cape High Court Judge Stephen Groenewaldt indicated that the firm that he was associated with – Towell and Groenewaldt Attorneys – had acted as instructing attorneys representing the accused in November 2017.
“Therefore it would be inappropriate for me to hear this matter as it would not be in the best interests of justice for me to preside over this application.”
He advised Magawu to first consult with and to preferably utilise the services of his legal representative.
He cautioned that evidence presented in the bail hearing, could be used against Magawu, if it became relevant, during the criminal trial.
Groenewaldt postponed the matter until next week, where another acting judge will be appointed to preside over the case.
by air in the pipe. “In some instances it has been shown that this is the case but it is not across the board and not all meters are affected. There might be some instances where this happens but it is mainly with older meters.”
He added that in these instances, the municipality would take an average reading to determine an estimated consumption of water. “We will look at how much the customer has used in the three months prior to the water being cut off at night, so for example June to October last year, to determine the average consumption of that household.
“What we really wish for is a fair value where customers pay for the water they have used. All disputes will be looked at on a case by case basis. We do know that there are others who, even if their meters are correct, will try to take advantage of the situation.”
Matsie added that the matter had been referred to the Executive Director responsible who would look investigate together with the finance section.
“There are clearly conflicting opinions regarding this issue within the municipality but we will be guided by the policy, where we will look into cases reported to us. There will also be further discussions by the relevant officials in an attempt to resolve this issue.”
He stated further that there were also instances were meters were faulty or they were stuck. “In these situations we will replace the meters, which like all mechanical devices, can fail on occasion. There are even instances were meters are stolen.
“Where this happens, we will also look at the average consumption over a period of three months, to determine an estimated amount owed by the consumer.”