An alleged hitman hired to kill a mining executive a day before he was to receive a retirement package of more than R1million fled the Vereeniging circuit court where he appeared with the man's widow yesterday.
Orlando Mandoza, 32, a Mozambican national, disappeared from the court during a brief adjournment to consult his attorney outside the courtroom.
Mandoza never returned after the adjournment but his co-accused, Tinky Sophie Mojapelo, 38, and her friend Antoinette Mkhensani, 36, came back into court.
Judge Kathy Satchwell issued a warrant of arrest for Mandoza.
The three are accused of kidnapping and killing Tinky's husband, Albert Matududu Mojapelo, 47, who was shot execution style at Orange Farm, Vaal, on September 28 2005.
Mojapelo, a former executive at a West Rand mine, retired three months before his death.
He was allegedly kidnapped from his home in Hillshaven, Westonaria, on the West Rand by Mandoza and two other men. They drove him in his four-wheel-drive vehicle to an open veld where he was shot dead.
Before Mandoza's disappearance, the accused told Satchwell that they no longer needed the services of their attorney Francois Roets.
Roets told the court that on Saturday he consulted with the accused who then informed him on Sunday that they had a new defence attorney, Jacques Pienaar.
Satchwell ordered Mandoza, Mojapelo and Mkhensani to consult Roets and Pienaar outside court because she would not postpone the case again.
Afterwards Pienaar told the court that he could not continue with the trial this week and asked for a postponement.
Satchwell told the accused: "You had seven months to prepare your defence. You have chosen to sack Roets and appointed another counsel who is not available. This trial will start, you can't choose dates."
Mkhensani's brother-in-law, identified as Komane, told the court that it costs R12500 in legal fees each time the three appeared in court.
Mojapelo and Mkhensani's bail of R5000 each was extended and they are expected to appear in court again today.