their wait begins

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

The defence for Lesedi FM presenter Thuso Motaung and his co-accused has called for their discharge.

The state and defence submitted their closing arguments yesterday in the Johannesburg commercial crimes court, where Motaung, his wife Mamontha and business partner Joshua Ramme, owner of JR Business Analysts and Developers, are on trial for defrauding the SABC of R32million.

The case was postponed to March 19 for judgment.

The offences were allegedly committed from 2004 to 2006.

The court adjourned for more than an hour for magistrate A Ramlaal to decide whether to accept Andre Bouwer's testimony.

Bouwer was a private investigator hired by the SABC to investigate its employees who are allegedly involved in fraud. The defence had objected to his evidence as hearsay.

They also argued that his evidence would be a waste of the court's time because he was going to say what other witnesses had already said. Ramlaal ruled in favour of the defence.

She said: "The court has the discretion to admit hearsay evidence if it is in the interest of justice but the witness' evidence was not."

The defence submitted that the accused should be acquitted because the state had failed to prove their guilt.

On Wednesday Lesedi FM station manager Pula Pula Mothibi told the court that Motaung had done nothing wrong. There had been an agreement between JR [Ramme] and SABC Radio Active that Ramme would provide Lesedi with calendars in return for airtime.

All the advertising scripts were written by JR [Ramme] and were "live reads" that made it impossible to limit the time they would take.