Witness asks for trial to be held in English

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The trial of the Limpopo farmer accused of shooting to death one of his employees, who he allegedly mistook for a baboon in Musina two years ago, does not seem to irk people in Polokwane.

The trial, which started on Monday and has drawn the attention of the media, is being held in an otherwise empty courtroom.

Only a handful of people attended the proceedings.

In the streets outside, it is business as usual.

No relatives of the deceased or the witnesses are present. They all live in Zimbabwe, making it difficult to attend the trial.

Jewell Crossberg is accused of killing Jealous Dube, his Zimbabwean employee, on June 21 2004 at his farm outside Musina.

Dube was with four other farm employees when he was killed.

Yesterday Happius Mpofu, a state witness, requested the court to instruct Jaap Cilliers, Crossberg's lawyer, to pose questions to him in English after Cilliers insisted on speaking in Afrikaans.

Mpofu said he was Shona and did not understand Afrikaans.

Though he made use of the services of a court interpreter, Mpofu said he wanted to understand the questions being posed to him.

"I do not have a problem with the interpreter per se, but I need time to gather my facts before answering the questions," Mpofu told Judge Ronnie Boshielo.

After consulting with all parties, Boshielo ordered that the proceedings be conducted in Mpofu's preferred language.

After Mpofu's testimony, Boshielo ordered him not to speak to anyone about the matter until the case had been finalised.