Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) North West secretary Papiki Babuile was on Friday acquitted of murder by the South Gauteng High Court. Babuile, who has been in prison for the past two years, was convicted by the North West High Court, together with eight others, for conspiracy to murder and murder.
He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in 2014 for the murder of ANC Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional secretary David Chika.
The EFF has welcomed the judgment with “sore hearts” because Babuile lost two years behind bars due to a wrong conviction.
“Wrongful judgments deny our people many years of their lives and destroy their livelihoods.”
The EFF further used the opportunity to slam its former members who had accused the party for having paid a convicted murderer his salary while he was behind bars. The party was referring to 2015 reports that Babuile had been running the affairs of the North West EFF from his prison cell, receiving a salary as a member of the provincial legislature with the blessing of the party’s top leadership.
He was reportedly receiving an annual package of over R1 million.
“This judgment is also a demonstration of their ideological dishonesty to the black emancipation struggle,” the party said.
Babuile will resume his duties as secretary of the province in North West with immediate effect.