'Murder witness kidnapped to be silenced'

RELEASED: Bushbuckridge executive mayor Milton Morema shortly after being released from police cells when the magistrate granted him and his two co-accused R10000 bail each before the charges were withdrawn. Pic. Riot Hlatshwayo. 22/09/2008. © Sowetan.
RELEASED: Bushbuckridge executive mayor Milton Morema shortly after being released from police cells when the magistrate granted him and his two co-accused R10000 bail each before the charges were withdrawn. Pic. Riot Hlatshwayo. 22/09/2008. © Sowetan.

Riot Hlatshwayo

The arrest last week of an Acornhoek municipality manager on charges of kidnapping a witness in a murder case involving Bushbuckridge executive mayor Milton Morema, has added to the woes of the latter.

Phineus Tinyiko Selowe, 35, was arrested last Thursday and spent the night in a police cell until he appeared before court the following day.

Senior magistrate George Risimati of the Mapulaneng magistrate's court granted Selowa R10000 bail pending his next court appearance on October 21 for further police investigations.

Risimati warned Selowa not to interfere with witnesses and to report to the investigating officer every time he wanted to leave the area

Selowa was allegedly part of a group that kidnapped John Maboyi, 26, at gunpoint on July 6 at Greenvalley near Acornhoek.

Mpumalanga police's organised crime unit spokesman Captain Leonard Hlathi yesterday said: "The victim is a witness in the murder case involving the mayor.

"We are convinced that he was kidnapped [in order] to be silenced," he said.

Selowa's arrest came hardly a week after allegations that Morema had given food to the family of another witness against him, Calvin Mzimba, who is under the police's witness protection programme.

A local contractor, John Motwa, has come out fuming, saying he was the one who gave food to Mzimba's mother, Beka, Mkhari, and that Morema had nothing to do with it.

"I am not a politician," said Motwa yesterday.

"I attend the Islamic Foundation Church and my wife decided we must give our neighbours some food that was sealed such as rice and some canned food."

Morema, Lukios Mosoma and Erasmus Makhubele are waiting for a high court decision on October 13 as to whether their withdrawn murder charges would be reinstated or not.

They allegedly killed Jeffrey Sedibe in 2003 when he asked for the balance of his fee after they had allegedly hired him to kill Motion Mashile - Morema's political rival.

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