Long wait for jailed Teacher

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The Limpopo teacher who was arrested a month ago after being charged with the murder of a police reservist - whom he claims he mistook for an intruder - is still languishing in police cells.

Lawyers representing Reuben Maponya have tried - unsuccessfully - to convince the Bolobedu magistrate's court that their client acted in self-defence when he shot dead reservist Aubrey Monyela on July 13.

The shooting took place at Maponya's home in Leretjeni village in Bolobedu. Police officers reportedly went to Maponya's house at about 3am and demanded he open his door.

Maponya, who claims they failed to identify themselves as police officers, said he looked through a window and saw a man approaching his new car.

He shot and killed the man and only later discovered that he was a police reservist. The cops were apparently searching for a man connected to an assault in the area.

Tzaneen police spokesman Captain Miyelani Shikwambane confirmed yesterday that Maponya was still being held in a police cell.

"We are guided by the instructions of the investigating officer since he is the one who should know how he wants to treat the matter," Shikwambane said.

He said Maponya would appear in court on August 29 when the issue of bail would be dealt with.

Chris Mahowa, Maponya's initial lawyer, said he had tried unsuccessfully to prove to the court that there were exceptional circumstances warranting his client's release "in the interest of justice".

He said he had since handed over the matter to another lawyer as requested by Maponya.

"Maponya, who is also a moneylender, was robbed on more than two occasions before the shooting incident," Mahowa said.

"Thugs broke his jaw when they demanded R10000 from him."

He said Maponya was involved in the local victim empowerment centre and was also a member of the community policing forum.