Johannesburg - No images of witnesses testifying in the trial of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and five others may be published, a judge ordered on Monday.
“I will allow the camera to run as long as it does not focus on the witness,” Judge Collin Lamont said in the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge.
Bheki Lukhele, who was allegedly kidnapped from his Katlehong home on June 25 last year by Krejcir and his co-accused, was sworn in as the second State witness on Monday morning.
Krejcir's co-accused are Desai Luphondo, warrant officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Nthoroane, Jan Lefu Mofokeng, and Siboniso Miya. All have pleaded not guilty to charges of dealing in drugs, attempted murder, and kidnapping.
Lukhele's brother Doctor worked for a cargo company at OR Tambo International Airport. He apparently disappeared with 25kg of crystal methamphetamine (tik) he was supposed to help transport to Australia, allegedly for Krejcir.
Lukhele was allegedly kidnapped and tortured to try and make him reveal his brother's whereabouts. He was allegedly bitten, kicked, and had boiling water poured over his head during the four days he was held at Krejcir's Money Point gold exchange business in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, in June last year.
Led in giving evidence by prosecutor Louis Mashiane, Lukhele told the court he was watching soap opera “Generations” when he heard something at his gate at 8.20pm on the night he was kidnapped. When he looked through the window he saw men at his gate.
“When I arrived at the gate, the people asked me about the whereabouts of my brother,” he said through a translator.
“One of those people showed me an identity card and said he was a police officer.”
He said he was assaulted when he told the men he had not seen his brother in days. Three men grabbed and manhandled him.
Lukhele said there were more than six men. They arrived at his house in three cars - a white BMW, a Mercedes-Benz Vito, and a dark 4x4.
“I was made to sit in the back of the BMW,” he said.
Lukhele said he had to sit in the middle of the back seat with his head down between the two front seats. There were two men in front and on either side of him. One tore his T-shirt and used it to cover his face. His hands were bound with cable ties.
The trial is expected to run for another two weeks.