Tribal trial continues

Winkie Dibakwane

Winkie Dibakwane

Kobedi Pilane, 54, breathed a sigh of relief when he was acquitted of theft and fraud charges yesterday.

"It is like a heavy bag has been off-loaded from my back," Pilane said.

Kobedi was appearing in the Mogwase regional court near Sun City, North West, together with Chief Nyalala John Molefe Pilane, 67, of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela tribe in Moroleng and Koos Shimane Motshegoe, 57.

The chief is facing 46 charges amounting to more than R40million while Motshegoe faces one of stealing R10000 which belonged to the Bakgatla tribe in 2003.

Magistrate Stefaan du Toit told the court that there was no evidence linking Kobedi to charges of theft totalling R610000 and also those of defrauding the Land Bank of R13million.

The magistrate upheld the R2000 bail each for Chief Pilane and Motshegoe to allow the defence to bring more evidence that it believes could exonerate them today.

The state, through the prosecutor, appealed to the magistrate to allow Pilane to explain what he had done with the millions that he allegedly unlawfully stole from the tribe.