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Key witness in murder of car guard missing

Samuel Diseko, a witness in the killing of fellow car guard in the Joburg CBD, is sought by police. /ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Samuel Diseko, a witness in the killing of fellow car guard in the Joburg CBD, is sought by police. /ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Have you seen this man?

Police are looking for Samuel Diseko because he is a key witness in the murder case of a car guard in the Johannesburg inner city last year.

Car guard Xolani Meswana, was severely assaulted and died from his injuries on the street in the CBD.

In September, Diseko testified in the trial of Philani Milton Mkhulisa, who is accused of Meswana's murder. But his testimony is incomplete and the state's case against the man accused of Meswana's murder hinges on Diseko's evidence.

"Our investigating officer tried to locate him around the (Johannesburg) CBD where there are many homeless people sleeping there. But no one has given information about his whereabouts. He sleeps on the streets. He has no address and no cellphone number we can use to call him," said police spokesperson Capt Xoli Mbele.

"His evidence is crucial for the state. He is the one that saw everything that happened that night. He is the only eyewitness that we have. If anyone sees the guy, they must contact investigating officer Const Matshepo Twala on 061-247-8201."

Diseko, was scheduled to testify again in the Johannesburg magistrate's court on October 23 but did not arrive in court, causing police to obtain a warrant for his arrest.

According to the police, he is the sole eyewitness who was present when Mkhulisa allegedly attacked Meswana in the evening of August 7. Meswana died from his injuries later that night.

Mkhulisa had apparently parked his car in the street and asked Meswana to look after it as he entered a building nearby.

When he [Mkhulisa] returned to the car, he apparently accused Meswana of breaking into it and stealing his possessions.

Police now fear that Diseko's disappearance could jeopardise their murder case.

Mkhulisa has pleaded not guilty to Meswana's murder and has indicated he would not take a stand in his own defence in court.

He is out on R2,000 bail.

In his testimony in September, Diseko told the court that Mkhulisa arrived in his Toyota Yaris about 7.30pm, accompanied by his girlfriend.

Mkhulisa then allegedly asked Meswana to keep an eye on his car. Not long afterwards, according to Diseko, Mkhulisa returned and found his car broken into and some items missing.

Diseko testified that he heard Mkhulisa shouting at Meswana, whom he had known for about two-and-a-half years. He alleged Mkhulisa slapped Meswana, pushed him to the ground and trampled him with his feet.

Diseko said he only realised that his friend was badly hurt when he saw him bleeding from the nose and mouth from the assault.

Mkhulisa allegedly left with his girlfriend and returned with two men.

The two allegedly tried to force Meswana to get into the car but the tussle ended when people at the nearby McDonald's outlet came out.

Yesterday, Sowetan visited the spot where Diseko worked and several car guards said they last saw him in the morning but he no longer worked from the area.

The guards, who did not want to give their names, further claimed Diseko was aware that police are looking for him. They claimed he had also changed the spot where he used to sleep on the streets because he had apparently been approached by a group of men who told him to disappear on the day he was set to testify in court.

"They told him to disappear. Since then, he has been fearing for his life," said one car guard who said he was friends with Diseko and asked Sowetan for money to help locate him.

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