Cellphone linked to murder – court hears


A cellphone owned by a man who was shot dead in Mpumalanga three years ago was sold to Cash Crusaders by one of his alleged killers, the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

Constable Ernest Vuma Mgwambi, from Lydenburg police station, testified that police recovered a Samsung cellphone from Derrick Fana Mbatha, who bought it from Cash Crusaders on September 16, 2010, a Sapa correspondent reported.

Mgwambi said Cash Crusaders’ records showed that the phone was sold to the shop by Calvin Tjatji, 24. Tjatji, Isaac Sebokuboku Phala, 29, and Tshepo Seloane, 24, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, armed robbery with aggravating circumstances and possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

They are accused of murdering Modikwe Mine worker Madingwana Max Matlou, on August 22, 2010. “After we discovered the deceased’s body in the middle of the R37 road between Lydenburg and Burgersfort on the night of August 22, we later recovered his vehicle, a gold Toyota Corolla about 20km from the scene,” Mgwambi testified.

He said Matlou had been shot in the head. “After his wife identified the body and the vehicle, she gave me his cellphone number. I then traced the whereabouts of his cellphone as it was not found in his possession,” Mgwambi said.

“It led me to Cash Crusaders in Witbank.” He testified that the store manager confirmed buying the phone on September 16, 2010. “He then showed me the contract containing an ID copy of the person who sold it. The ID copy belonged to the accused, Calvin Tjatji, who is before court,” Mgwambi said.

“The store manager also gave us information of the buyer, Mr Derrick Fana Mbatha. I contacted Mbatha and he confirmed buying it from the store.” Mgwambi testified that after Mbatha gave the police the phone, he found that its serial number matched that on the phone’s box.

Matlou’s widow, Violet Nomkulo Matlou, 44, testified that she had to move from Burgersfort to another area in Welkom because of the trauma of her husband’s death.

“My husband was killed just after he dropped our daughter at a boarding school at Lydenburg…. When he left home that night, it was between 7pm and 7.05pm and he never returned ever since,” she said.

“I was called two days later by the police to come and identify the car at the police station. He was the only one employed in the family and I was left with four children to look after.”

She testified that she is still unemployed and relies on her mother’s pension to survive. “My mother shares with us after getting paid. The children were in proper schools and I was forced to send them to lower schools,” she said.

The case continues.


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