'I was intimidated to change story' - Coligny witness sticks with original testimony
The sole witness in a murder case against two Coligny farmworkers was allegedly offered R3m to lie about his testimony.
Bonakele Pakisi, whose testimony ensured that the two farmers were convicted last year, said he was shown a firearm and was forced to read an already prepared statement to "confesses" that he had lied in court.
Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport reported about Pakisi's recording in which he confessed to have lied in court last year.
The latest development could see the two accused, Phillip Schutte and Pieter Doorewaard, who were convicted last year, freed. The pair were convicted after been found guilty of killing Matlhomola Mosweu at Rietvlei farm in Coligny in April 2017 .
Yesterday, Pakisi went to the local police station and told the police that he was forced by one of the accused's relatives to lie after being shown a firearm.
Pakisi was kept in witness protection for the duration of the trial and was only released in August and made to return home. He allegedly survived two attacks at his home about two weeks ago.
Pakisi said an unknown man came to his house on January 7, and told him that the state advocate Rapule Molefe wanted to see him in Mahikeng.
He said he then drove with that man but on arrival in Mahikeng, he was somehow given R1,000 to buy himself "anything nice" while waiting for Molefe.
He promised to give me R3m and also to build me a house out of Coligny
Pakisi said upon his return, he found Doorewaard's relative, Pieter Kirsten, waiting for him with the man who drove him to Mahikeng, who was later identified as Reverend Paul Morule, who worked for Kirsten.
"I then realised that it was a set up, I demanded to be driven back home but they refused," he said.
Pakisi said they then showed him a written paper which contained a confession he was forced to read out while being recorded.
He said Kirsten, a prominent Coligny businessman, also offered him R3m.
Pakisi said Kirsten told him that he did not have a choice but to read out loud while he was recording him.
"He promised to give me R3m and also to build me a house out of Coligny if I say on record that the evidence I gave in court was a lie," he said.
Pakisi said at first he refused. "He then showed me a gun and told me that if I do not agree, I will be killed in 24 hours," Pakisi said.
Kirsten disputed Pakisi's version. "This guy [Pakisi] is not in contact with reality and I think it's time for him to be stopped," Kirsten said.
He claimed to have only seen Pakisi twice in court and at the police's inspection loco.
Morule told Sowetan yesterday he made a recording of Pakisi and leaked it to the Sunday newspaper.
Morule said he recorded Pakisi's statement before taking him to his lawyer who also made another recording of "Pakisi's confession".
Pakisi was the only person who witnessed Mosweu's assault at the hands of Doorewaard and Schutte and the court was satisfied with his testimony.
North West police spokesperson Sam Tselanyane confirmed yesterday that Pakisi had relayed the same story to police. He also confirmed that a case of intimidation has been opened.