Pretoria - Three SANDF members and one other man, who allegedly planned and carried out the murder of senior police officer Major-General Tirhani Maswanganyi on June 16, will spend Christmas behind bars after their bid for freedom was denied.
The four accused - Tshepo Mosai, 30, Roger Godfrey Moseki, 33, Ndaedzo Isaac Vele, 29, and Nditsheni Daniel Nefolovhodwe, 32 - were arrested two weeks after Maswanganyi’s body was found in a stretch of veld along the R101.
Their lengthy bail application in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court has been described as a mini trial.
The Maswanganyi family heaved a sign of relief after magistrate Ilna Stander read out her judgment on Thursday, stating that all four accused were to be remanded in custody “until they are dealt with in accordance with the law”.
“The court has found that all four the accused tried to mislead this court with their testimonies,” she said. Stander further stated that none of the accused provided exceptional circumstance to be released on bail, in accordance with a schedule six offence.
“It is then the onus of the accused to state why the interest of justice should permit their release,” Stander said, highlighting the procedures for schedule six bail application.
The accused claimed that the state apparently had a weak case against them, and that all statements were alleged taken forcefully and as a result of extreme torture.
“They have continuously tried to make this court believe that the statements police have were taken as a desperate attempt to blame the general’s murder on them. Yet the accused have failed to prove on the balance of probability that they can be acquitted of these charges.”
The court was also satisfied with the testimony of investigating officer Colonel Abednego Shibiri.
“The court is satisfied that he answered all question honestly and to the best of his ability. He was a truthful witness,” she said.
Throughout the judgment the accused stared straight at Stander, but then they asked for an interpreter to interpret the conclusion. Stony-faced as they heard bail was denied, they were led back to the cells with their attorneys following.
They did not speak to any family.
Roger Moseki’s girlfriend, who refused to give her name, arrived after proceedings closed. On hearing that he would not be spending the festive season with the family, she said: “I’m still very shocked. We didn’t expect this,” she said.
Maswanganyi’s widow Shereen has been at every court session and was on Thursday joined by her eldest daughter Didintle and youngest daughter Tinyiko. Shereen said she was glad the accused were denied bail because it proved the efforts of the investigation team had not gone to waste.
The case was postponed to March for further investigation.