AN ACCUSED man's mother - called to testify in defence of her son in court yesterday- has completely contradicted his version of events.
Her son, Sello Arnold, is standing trial for the murder of Avhatakali Netshisaulu in the Johannesburg high court.
Arnold admitted to having been present when Netshisaulu, who was the son of former City Press editor Mathatha Tsedu, was killed.
Arnold has been charged, along with the dead man's widow Mulalo Sivhidzho and Ntabudzeni Mtseenene. They are alleged to have killed Netshisaulu in 2006.
Arnold's mother Johanna Nkedile told the court that her son was at home with her the night Netshisaulu was kidnapped and burnt alive in the boot of his car.
"He was wandering about in the yard in the Zandspruit informal settlement in Honeydew," she said.
"He was at home the whole time, I saw him there. I locked the gate at 10pm and he was in the house."
Nkedile, who sells home-made beer, contradicted her son's version of events in several ways.
She said Arnold had attended school in Muldersdrift and went up to Standard 1, whereas he said he went to school in Rustenburg until Standard 5.
She claimed that she did not know when Arnold had come to live with her or that he was employed at a filling station.
When accused by the state prosecutor of being a liar and being coached on what to say in court, Nkedile said: "When I came here it was to testify about where police found my son when they arrested him.
"I did not know that I would be called a liar. If I have lied, may the Lord forgive me," she said, before admitting that her son had risked getting her into trouble by asking her to testify.
Arnold had, on the other hand, earlier testified that on the night of the murder he was asked by a man called Mashudu to accompany him to a petrol station where they were to meet a man who owed Mashudu.
He said there they found a man driving a Golf whom they followed in Mashudu's Venture.
After forcing him off the road, they robbed him, forced him into the car boot and set it alight.
He said his role in the crime was limited to stealing a cellphone and that he did not take part in the killing.
"We were about seven metres away from the car when the fire got big. We stood there for about five minutes before we left," Arnold said in his testimony on Monday.
Sivhidzho is expected to testify in her defence today.