Cape Town - An activist who is on trial for murder has testified that she believes the victim, who was “necklaced” in an alleged vigilante attack, was killed by a policeman.
Angy Peter took the witness stand in her own defence in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday after Judge Robert Henney rejected her application for a discharge, along with those of her co-accused.
Peter, a leading member of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) anti-vigilante campaign, has been put on trial with Azola Dayimani, Christopher Dina and her husband, Isaac Mbadu, who also works for the organisation.
They face charges relating to the murder of Rowan du Preez, who was allegedly abducted, “necklaced” and left for dead in Mfuleni in October 2012.
According to Peter, she had been at home with her family on the night of the attack. She had gone to bed at 8pm that night and woke up at about 9am the next morning. She was pregnant at the time.
Her defence counsel, William King, questioned her about an incident a couple of months earlier in August in which Du Preez had broken into her home and stolen her husband’s television set, asking whether she had wanted to kill Du Preez because of this.
“Not so, my lord,” she replied.
Peter told of having met Du Preez in early 2010 when she had intervened while he was being assaulted by community members for theft.
The following year, he had shown an interest in joining the SJC and changing his life but had told her that there was “a person in charge of them” that did not want him to change.
In Peter’s plea explanation, a document before the court, she claims that her complaint arising from the theft of the television set was never against Du Preez but a crime intelligence police officer (whose name is known to the Cape Times).
“This complaint was laid against the background that I was the ‘face’ of the SJC, which had initiated and was actively getting evidence together for the inquiry into the state of the South African Police at Khayelitsha,” the document reads.
“Police corruption was at the forefront of such inquiry. (He) was a policeman who was using young criminals like the deceased to steal for him.”
“I believe he is the person who killed Rowan but the State (has done) nothing about that until this day,” she said testifying through an interpreter.
King said Peter’s attorney had subsequently laid formal complaints against the officer.
The trial continues.