We were high on drugs: Mpofu attackers

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justice scales and books Clyde Robinson

Clyde [email protected]

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East London - Two men accused of assaulting human rights lawyer Dali Mpofu told the East London Regional Court that they abused drugs and may not have been fully aware of what they were doing.

Chuma Komeni, 23, and Thulani Simon, 19, are accused of stabbing Mpofu several times before robbing him of his personal belongings in a bushy area along the Eastern Beach in East London on April 11

last year.

They are facing charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and robbery. Both have pleaded not guilty.

After hearing evidence from the State and the defence on Monday, presiding magistrate Sadia Jacobs postponed the matter to Thursday for judgment.

During cross-examination by prosecutor Khaya Makwakwa, Komeni told the court they had used drugs moments before the crime was committed.

“We were high on drugs and we did not plan to rob him but when the complainant attacked us we fought back and stabbed him before running away,” said Komeni.

The two, who are friends and neighbours, told the court they were coming from Nahoon when Komeni went to the bushes to relieve himself while Simon went to fetch water.

Simon said he saw a pair of trousers lying unattended and he picked up the trousers.

“While I was holding the pants someone appeared from the bushes and started assaulting me. I cried for help and Komeni came to my rescue,” said Simon.

Komeni told the court that when Mpofu assaulted him he took out a knife and stabbed him several times in self defence before running away leaving Mpofu lying on the ground.

They told the court that they found R900 inside Mpofu's wallet and his cellphone.

“We shared the R900 between us and sold the cellphone,” said Simon.

Throughout their testimony they claimed that they did not intend to rob Mpofu but after realising what they have done they were too afraid to return his personal belongings to him or hand them over to police.

Makwakwa said a doctor's report revealed that Mpofu sustained seven serious wounds on his upper body and legs.

Mpofu is representing arrested and injured miners at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, which is investigating the deaths of 44

people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West.

The police shot dead 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, wounded over 70, and arrested 250 on August 16, 2012 while trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.

Sapa


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