Soldier on trial for killing family

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

A member of the SA National Defence Force accused of murdering his wife and three children will go on trial today in the Thohoyandou high court.

Meshack Kharivhe's trial was due to start yesterday but the court had to allow the defence team time to prepare for the case.

Kharivhe was arrested in Mukula outside Thohoyandou shortly after the death of his family in April.

He had allegedly accused his wife of cheating.

Kharivhe is facing four counts of murder - for killing his wife Winisani, 28, and children Zwonaka, 9, Thendo, 3 and nine-month-old toddler Maduvha.

Yesterday Judge Godfrey Hetisani postponed the hearing to today to give the accused's legal counsel, James Manwadu, a chance to prepare his defence.

During an unsuccessful bail application in May witnesses told the court that Kharivhe had asked to be taken to the police but refused to get out of the car at the police station because he was afraid of being arrested.

Kharivhe, 38, had also allegedly tried to behave in a manner aimed at convincing the court that he was mentally ill.

But experts who were examined him told the court during the bail application that he was fit to stand trial.

Yesterday Sowetan learnt that Kharivhe's brother, Norman, might be added to the accused list for murder because of the contradictory statements he allegedly made during the bail application.

He initially told police that his brother killed his family but allegedly changed his statement when his brother applied for bail.

After the bail hearing it is alleged Norman approached a prosecutor and said he had lied so that his brother could get bail.

"He made a second statement after the bail application and the prosecution is planning to charge him with perjury," said a source in the prosecution authority.

The trial is expected to last three days.