Boss said he was bewitched
THE former gardener of a businessman accused of assaulting his one-time employee told the Temba Regional Court in Hammanskraal how the tycoon had forced him to hold down the man while he assaulted him.
Frank Mentoor, one of four men charged with businessman Solly Madileng for the brutal 2006 assault on Madileng's erstwhile employee, said his involvement in the assault was "very minimum".
Other men charged with the alleged assault are Mentoor's twin, Steve, Tshepo Ntlwana and Abie Motlhabi.
Mentoor said on Monday August 26 2006 he was waiting for Madileng to come home.
Mentoor said he was a live-in gardener at Madileng's residence and that Madileng normally transported him home on weekends.
"When he returned home he was with two other men who worked at his shop and said we should all climb into his two bakkies," Mentoor said.
"I was under the impression that he was taking us home and was shocked when we went to a tavern at Seabe, a neighbouring village."
Mentoor said when they arrived at the tavern, Madileng grabbed Ephraim Makitla by his belt and pulled him into the bakkie.
"We then drove to the bush, where Madileng took a broomstick from the back of his seat and ordered us to hold Makitla firmly.
"He accused Makitla of bewitching him and also that he had stolen from one of his shops.
"When asked why he had done that Makitla did not respond and Madileng started hitting him."
Mentoor said his sole role in the saga was to hold Makitla down while Madileng assaulted him.
Asked why he had not refused to hold Makitla, Mentoor said he had been scared of his boss and every time the man asked him to jump he asked: "How high?"
"At first I hesitated to grab him, but Madileng raised his voice, forcing me and the other men to hold Makitla. I was threatened," he said.
Magistrate Danie van der Berg asked Mentoor if he would commit a crime if ordered by Madileng because he is scared of him, to which he said: "Yes, if it is not serious."
The magistrate said: "But the crime you committed is serious. The man was seriously injured?"
Another co-accused, Motlhabi, also said their involvement in the assault was only to hold Makitla so that he could not move while he was being assaulted by Madileng.
While Makitla testified that the four men had tied him with a rope before he was assaulted by Madileng, Mentoor and Motlhabi denied this, saying they only held him so that he could be assaulted.
Madileng, 50, was arrested five days after he allegedly shot his former wife, Maki, and threw her out of a moving car on August 7 2007.
Madileng was initially charged with kidnapping and assaulting Makitla.
The cases have been combined. The trial continues today.