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Klerksdorp - The bail application of eight men accused of murdering ANC North West official Obuti Chika was adjourned in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Proceedings would continue on Tuesday morning, and a ruling was expected later that day.
Prosecutor Riekie Krause argued against the men being granted bail. Releasing them would evoke shock and outrage among local residents, she said. Several of them had also failed to disclose previous criminal convictions or pending cases.
Chika, 33, was shot at point-blank range in the driveway of his Klerksdorp home on December 14. He died in a local hospital.
Krause said the State had a strong case against one of the accused, local government MEC China Dodovu.
“The State has a strong case against the applicant (Dodovu),” Krause said.
She said he had three passports, a diplomatic one and two personal ones.
Another accused, Sihlangu Sekhakhane, had previously confessed to the crime. He had also led police to his gun. Krause said forensics had later matched the bullets which killed Chika to this gun.
The other six accused are community member Jeffrey Letuka, North West provincial ANC Youth League chairman Papiki Baboile, ward secretary Paul Molomonyane, councillor Itumeleng Molebatsi, municipal worker William Malefo, and taxi driver Kgotso Kali.
The court heard that Sekhakhane had claimed to have met Kali in a BMW X5 shortly before the crime. Kali allegedly told him that, before he could attend the African National Congress's conference in Mangaung in December, Chika had to be killed.
According to a police affidavit, Sekhakhane had admitted to killing Chika. Sekhakhane said in an affadivit, read out by his lawyer, that he denied committing the crime. He said police officers assaulted him and that he had to sign a confession under duress.
Krause confirmed Baboile owned a BMW X5.
She told the court an unnamed witness had also confirmed that some of the eight had previously discussed murdering Chika during several meetings.
Krause said bail was also being opposed because some of the applicants knew a State witness, referred to only as “witness X”.
According to the State, the witness said that on December 11, residents of Jouberton, Klerksdorp, were upset with the municipality after the mayor arranged for shacks to be destroyed.
The mayor's assassination was also discussed at one meeting between the applicants.
The witness was also present at another meeting at River Lodge on December 13. Molomonyane, Baboile, Molebatsi, Kali, Molefo and Dodovu attended that meeting.
Doduvu's lawyer Nico Drayer read out the MEC's affidavit.
“I deny that I was present at the River Lodge,” he stated.
After Letuka was arrested, he also confessed. He claimed Kali said Chika was close to the mayor and that if he was killed, the shacks would no longer be removed.
He handed Letuka and his friend two explosive devices and promised the two they would receive R50 000 for killing Chika.
Baboile and Molefo were with Kali during the meeting with Letuka and his friend. They came back later and said they could not raise the money. They took the explosives back.
Kali said in an affidavit that he denied attending any meeting or promising any money to Letuka or Sekhakhane. - Sapa