Johannesburg - A man arrested for a series of crimes in Muldersdrift has backtracked on the statement he made to the police in which he implicated himself in two murders and several robberies.
For two days, Alfred Zwane gave his version of events and also fielded some hard questions from the prosecutor as the Johannesburg High Court sought to get to the bottom of his allegations that he was coerced into admitting to crimes he did not commit.
The 28-year-old Zwane is believed to be one of the men who terrorised the Muldersdrift community, leaving death and mayhem in their wake.
He and two co-accused, Samson Mandlezi, 24, and Manir Lubisi, 28, face 18 charges that include two murders, two attempted murders and many robberies with aggravated circumstances.
The trio allegedly shot and killed 13-year-old Alyssa Botha on the evening of September 12, 2012 in front of her father Anton and older sister Meghan, who were also shot and wounded in the attack.
Only three cellphones were taken in the robbery.
The next day, the men allegedly stormed into Andre Jordaan’s house, robbing him and shooting him dead.
The trio, who are all from Mozambique and are in South Africa illegally, pleaded not guilty.
The State closed its case last year.
The defence was supposed to start with its case when allegations of police brutality surfaced, forcing the judge to hold a trial-within-a- trial to determine the truthfulness of the accused’s claims.
The trio claim they are being framed by the police.
Zwane said on Tuesday he was brutally assaulted into admitting to the crimes, and taken to some houses and forced to point out the scenes of crimes he did not commit.
“I admitted to cases I was accused of because I was scared I would be further assaulted if I did not. I was also given a paper to sign and put my thumbprint (on) before doing the pointing out,” he said.
During cross-examination, the prosecutor, advocate Gerrit Roberts, asked Zwane how the police officer who took the statement would know what names to write and also the places where the crimes were committed, seeing that he was a neutral officer from a different police station who knew nothing about the case.
Zwane is alleged to have said: “In front of this house is where Armandu shot two white girls and a white male. We robbed them of three BlackBerries and ran away. Armandu fired plus-minus five shots at those people.”
Zwane had further stated that, the day before his arrest, another man, who he identified as MaWillie, had shot a white man and that they robbed him of his cellphone and a plasma TV.
The trial continues.