The Herald (South Africa)
Two in court for angler’s death
One accused was out on bail for another murder
ONE of the men accused of murdering a Port Elizabeth fisherman at Swartkops on December 16 was already out on bail for another murder when the Reconciliation Day incident occurred.
Siphumelele Phethelo, 21, and his co-accused, Nyaniso Mathinjwa, 23, appeared in the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court yesterday in connection with the murder of Clint Ovrenovitz, 42, who was fishing at Swartkops when he was shot and his car and wallet were stolen.
The two accused face a charge of murder, three charges of robbery and charges of the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. They were arrested in Motherwell a day after the murder and were in possession of the victim’s blue Citi Golf and wallet.
Phethelo abandoned his bail application and did not testify during yesterday’s proceedings.
It was however mentioned that he had a pending murder case against him, but that case was not discussed further.
He seemed to follow his co-accused’s testimony with great interest from his seat in the dock.
The red-haired Mathinjwa seemed nervous and regularly fidgeted with his hands as he gave testimony during his bid for bail.
Before entering the dock he handed a piece of rolled-up toilet paper to family members seated in the front row of the court.
They unrolled it to reveal what seemed like a letter, in blue ink.
While testifying, Mathinjwa kept his head bowed and spoke softly as he told the court he lived with his aunt and grandmother in Kwazakhele, and that he had a five-year-old child, all of whom were dependent on the R500 he earned weekly from delivering bread.
Under cross-examination, the state said he was lying as his aunt had previously said in a statement to the police that he was unemployed.
When asked why he was in possession of Ovrenovitz’s car, Mathinjwa said he operated a taxi for his Nigerian neighbour, whom he identified only as George.
He had been using another car, but on the day of his arrest George brought him the Golf. When asked where George was, he said the man had disappeared.
According to the police statement, Ovrenovitz’s wallet was found in Mathinjwa’s pocket, but the accused denied this, saying the wallet happened to be in the car he was driving and that the police were lying about where they found it.
Magistrate Gerrie van der Merwe seemed to become agitated with Mathinjwa, intervening more than once to tell him to answer questions properly.
The case was postponed to January 20 for the court’s decision on his bail application.