Confession statement in retired crime intelligence murder case is admissible
The high court in Johannesburg ruled on Monday that a confession made by an accused in the 2018 murder of retired crime intelligence official Maj-Gen Hendrick Mogoerane is admissible.
Johannesburg high court judge Majake Mabesele made the ruling after a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of the confession statement by Mzweshinga Zondo, one of the six accused, a few days after his arrest on June 2 2018.
Mabesele said he will give full reasons for his ruling in his judgment at the end of the trial.
The contents of the confession statement will be known on Tuesday when the police officer who obtained it will read it in court.
Other accused in the case include Mogoerane’s wife, Velaphi Cordelia Mogoerane, and her son Thabiso Mogoerane.
The issue arose after prosecutor Carla Britz asked for Zondo’s statement to be admitted as evidence. Zondo's defence team objected, alleging that proper processes were not followed in procuring the confession.
This led to Mabesele holding a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of the statement.
The prosecution called on the police officers who took the warning statement and the confession statement. They testified they had interviews with Zondo and he signed each page of the warning statement and the confession.
Col Joseph Mashabane, who took the confession statement from Zondo, testified that he did this after an interview with Zondo in isiZulu.
Zondo has denied that the police officers who took the warning statement and the confession statement had interviews with him.
He said after his arrest in Vosloorus on May 31 2018, he was taken to Cleveland police station where he stayed until June 2, when two tactical response team members took him to an interview room in that police station.
In that room, he said, he found a man in a Springbok jersey who told Zondo he was not on duty.
Zondo said the officer said he needed the accused to sign some papers. “I did not want to argue with the law. I signed each and every document,” he said.
Zondo said the police officer pointed out where he needed to sign.
Asked if he knew what he was signing, Zondo said the officer did not explain.
“I did not know what was in those documents. Nothing was explained. I was told I must sign. He [the policeman] was in a hurry,” he said.
Zondo, 51, Thulani Nxumalo, 36, Sanele Mphuthi, 39, Thabiso Mogoerane 30, Ntombizodwa Dlamini, 73, and Velaphi Cordelia Mogoerane, 58, each face a charge of murder and a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
The state alleges that:
- during August 2017, Velaphi Mogoerane asked Dlamini, a traditional healer, to help have her husband killed;
- Mogoerane’s son knew of his mother’s plans and that Zondo recruited Nxumalo and Mphuthi to assist him with the killing;
- Zondo, Nxumalo and Mphuthi entered the house of the deceased where he was sleeping and his wife pointed him out; and
- after Zondo, Nxumalo and Mphuthi had killed him, the mother and son helped them dispose of the body by placing it on the back seat of his vehicle.
His vehicle was found abandoned not far from home. He died as a result of constriction of the neck by ligature (strangulation), according to the postmortem.
The trial continues.
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