Pretoria - The defence in the trial of four men accused of killing North West businessman Wandile Bozwana, and the attempted murder of his lover Mpho Baloyi, on Thursday questioned the credibility of the close-circuit television (CCTV) footage and the generated images from which the suspects were identified.
At issue at the trial-within-a-trial currently underway in the High Court in Pretoria, is time discrepancies and inconsistencies in the still images generated from the footage, as well as in the footage itself.
According to the state’s case, the footage documents the movements of Bozwana and Baloyi, who was also Bozwana's business partner, as they went about their errands in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, hours before they were attacked in Pretoria in October 2015.
With Baloyi behind the wheel, the two had stopped at the Garsfontein off-ramp of the N1 in Pretoria, when a BMW M3 stopped and a man jumped out, opening fire at the duo’s Renault Clio on October 2, 2015.
Bozwana was hit nine times while two bullets struck Baloyi.
Sipho Patrick Hudla, Matamela Robert Mutapa, Vusi Reginald Mathibela, and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
On the fateful day, Bozwana and Baloyi had visited Nelson Mandela Square where they had beauty treatments, including a manicure and pedicure, and lunch at the McDonald’s restaurant along Grayston Drive, before they headed to Pretoria where they were attacked.
The state is seeking to use the footage obtained from the establishments the duo visited, as well as the passages of the mall, to prove that the attack was planned and that the accused in the matter acted in common purpose to commit the crime.
Advocate Gerhard Botha SC, who represents Mathibela in the matter, pointed to William Makhonjwa, a surveillance camera service technician at Nelson Mandela Square who was on the witness stand for the state on Thursday, that there were discrepancies and inconsistencies in the footage and images.
This was after Makhonjwa confirmed that the footage was from their surveillance system and that the images generated by the police from the footage were generated from this particular footage.
Botha then pointed Makhonjwa to the fact that in the images police claim to have generated from the footage, the time and date is displayed on the top left corner, whereas in the actual footage this information was displayed on the top right corner.
But Makhonjwa replied that “I would not know because I did not generate the photos”.
Botha then put it to Makhonjwa that though there was evidence before court that the footage could not be tampered with, it was clear it was tampered with.
“It is possible that the image was tampered with or the footage is from another camera. I put it to you that it is highly improbable for the images from one to 47 to have come from your camera,” he said.
On Wednesday, Advocate JP Murray, for Hudla and Mutapa, said in the footage from the beauty salon, Bozwana was captured paying for the services and the recorded time on the footage was just after 21:40 on that day, more than six hours after Bozwana was killed.
The recorded time of the attack on the duo as they stopped at a traffic light on Garsfontein off-ramp of the N1 in Pretoria was around 14:45.
Judge Papi Mosopa is hearing evidence in a trial-within-a-trial for him to determine the admissibility of the footage as evidence.
At the time of his death, Bozwana was embroiled in legal wrangles with the North West province regarding the allocation of tenders.
Bozwana, a prominent businessman, was also chairperson of the North West Business Forum.
Some members of the forum believed the murder was a bid to silence him on his outspoken criticism of alleged corruption and the blacklisting of certain companies by the North West provincial government authorities.