Johannesburg - Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir was disrespectful to South Africa and the police, a witness testifying in his trial said on Thursday.
Paul Mthabela told the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, he had told Krejcir that if he was not careful he would be arrested.
“I was referring to the drug-trafficking, kidnapping of people, and burning them with boiling water,” Mthabela said through an interpreter.
Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, warrant officers Samuel Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya face charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and dealing in drugs.
They allegedly kidnapped Bheki Lukhele in a bid to force him to reveal the whereabouts of his brother, Doctor. Doctor, who worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport, had disappeared with 25kg of tik (methamphetamine), which he had been tasked to transport to Australia, allegedly for Krejcir.
Lukhele testified earlier that he was forcefully taken from his Katlehong home in June last year, blindfolded, bound, kicked and punched, and had boiling water poured over his head, allegedly by Krejcir.
On Thursday, Annelene van den Heever, for Krejcir, questioned Mthabela on whether he was excluding himself from their illegal dealings.
“I had broken the law and I knew I could get arrested. But to have someone arrogantly say that 'I will not be arrested', was disrespectful to the country and its police,” Mthabela said.
He claimed Krejcir said these words to him and another State witness Peter Vusi Msimango when they warned him of Colonel Nkosana “Killer” Ximba, saying he was known for making arrests.
Van den Heever asked Mthabela whether he would regard himself as a law-abiding citizen.
“Very much so,” Mthabela replied. He said he had been arrested before.
“There is also a pending case against me,” said Mthabela.
Van den Heever asked him to give the details of the case.
“That would be sub judice,” Mthabela said, getting the backing of prosecutor Louis Mashiane.
Van den Heever said the details and fact of that matter were highly relevant to this case.
Mthabela did not disclose the details. Van den Heever then asked Mthabela whether he knew if there had been much negative reporting about Krejcir in the media.
“He is not portrayed as a Sunday schoolboy in the media,” she said.
Judge Collin Lamont rejected this, saying Mthabela would not know what negative reporting was and would not necessarily have the same views as Van den Heever on what negative reporting was.
On Wednesday, Lamont reproached Van den Heever for the tone in which she addressed him.
“That's the way I speak. That's the tone of my voice, that's the way I address the court,” she said, adding that she meant no disrespect to him.
The trial continues. - Sapa