Bail for two accused of murdering general

The pair had been charged with stock theft.
Photo: Supplied

The pair had been charged with stock theft. Photo: Supplied

Two of the four men accused of murdering top policeman Major General Tirhani Maswanganyi have been granted bail on appeal.

SA National Defence Force members Ndaedzo Isaac Vele, Nditsheni Daniel Nefolovhodwa and Roger Gaorekwe Moseki were refused bail, along with Tshepo Leon Mosai, in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court in December last year. Acting Judge Daniel Thulare dismissed Vele and Nefolovhodwa’s appeal against the refusal of bail, but granted Mosai and Moseki bail of R5 000 each – on condition they report to the police three times a week, surrender their passports and do not leave Gauteng without notifying the police.

The judge found that the State had a prima facie case against Vele and Nefolovhodwa, but not against the other two. They face charges of murdering, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and using a car without the owner’s consent.

The four were arrested weeks after General Maswanganyi’s vehicle and body were found in veld next to the R101 outside Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, on June 17 last year. The top cop had last been seen that afternoon on his way to Johannesburg, where he worked.

The four are accused of conspiring to murder and murdering General Maswanganyi and also of conspiring to murder a SANDF general.

During their bail application, all four claimed their incriminating statements had been taken forcefully and were the result of severe torture.

The acting judge severely criticised the investigating officer and other senior police officers involved in the case, describing their approach to their constitutional responsibilities as “worrying”. He said the objectivity of the investigating officer was also of concern. For example, he knew of Vele’s complaint of assault, but did not ask for a full medical examination when he took the accused for DNA samples.

Judge Thulare also expressed concern about a visit by the investigating officer and two generals to Moseki while he was in custody, during which it was allegedly suggested he implicate General Maswanganyi’s wife in the murder in exchange for his freedom. The State did not rebut the claim.

“It is very worrying when senior members of the SAPS demonstrate no respect for other officers of the court as well as institutions that support a regular, fair and just process of the administration of justice and involve themselves in activities that tend to undermine the administration of justice,” Thulare said.

 

today in print