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Anger at 'baboon' shooting trial

By unknown | Apr 04, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Frank Maponya

A Limpopo farmer who shot dead an employee claiming he had mistaken him for a baboon was yesterday described as "a black man trapped in a white man's skin".

Phondo Mulaudzi, a DA councillor in the Musina local municipality, surprised people in the gallery in the Polokwane high court yesterday when he testified that Jewel Crossberg was not the kind of person who would harm people, let alone his workers.

Mulaudzi told the court that Crossberg was a Good Samaritan who had gone to extremes to help the poor communities where he lived.

Crossberg, 52, is standing trial for the murder of Jealous Dube, his former employee, whom he had allegedly accused with four others on June 21 2004 of being lazy.

He allegedly shot at the group and later claimed to have fired shots at a troop of baboons.

Mulaudzi, 41, initially claimed he had worked for Crossberg, whom he had known while he [Mulaudzi] was a primary school pupil.

"Crossberg has done a lot in assisting ANC branches in the area with finances during the apartheid days," Mulaudzi told Judge Ronnie Boshielo.

"Had it not been for Crossberg's efforts, the ANC structures in the Musina area would not be where they are today. The man helped us a lot and everyone in our area knows that."

He also said Crossberg had helped with the burial costs of one of the struggle heroes who was allegedly killed by the apartheid police.

Mulaudzi said Crossberg had also helped in financing events in several schools in the area, especially during matric dances.

Mulaudzi's testimony was, however, viewed as part of a plea bargain by Crossberg's lawyer, advocate Jaap Cilliers.

During an adjournment, it became clear that Mulaudzi's testimony had angered many of the people who had attended the court proceedings.

Mulaudzi was nearly manhandled as people accused him of being a sell-out. This was after he was seen shaking hands with Cilliers shortly after the adjournment.

Said David Mathapo, of Polokwane: "It is embarrassing to see a councillor who is carrying the mandate of the African people supporting whites.

"It was also clear during Mulaudzi's testimony that he was programmed to say all the things he said in court.

"But we are worried that his intention was to dent the image of the ANC."

The trial is expected to end tomorrow.


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