PRETORIA - Two Baviaanspoort Correctional Services wardens and a former inmate at the institution, appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday, for allegedly killing magistrate Victor Mabunda in the driveway of his home in Bronkhorstspruit in December.
Wardens Thomo Ngoato and Paulos Fourie were arrested for the murder of Mabunda. They appeared with co-accused, former inmate Thato Maringa.
It is believed that Ngoato was still appearing in front of Mabunda for allegedly smuggling drugs into the prison. Mabunda was murdered as he was about to deliver his judgment in the case.
On Friday, the men were accused of prolonging court proceedings after submitting numerous requests.
During their appearance last month, the trio made claims that they were abused by prison wardens and police officers. They requested to be taken for medical examinations for treatment of injuries sustained.
Magistrate Adrian Bekker accepted the claims and made recommendations for the accused to be examined but was disappointed to learn that his recommendations had not been heeded.
The accused claimed they could not read the magistrate's instructions on a J7 form, but Bekker dismissed these claims as lame.
"If the accused wanted to know what was written on the form, they would put effort in. But I'll ask someone with a clearer handwriting to write the recommendation," he said.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) chief prosecutor, Advocate Matric Lupondo, said the suspects' strategies did not bother him but allowed the State to make further investigations into Mabunda's death.
Maringa’s lawyer insisted that his client was still in need of medical treatment and he could benefit from it.
Maringa was still out on bail when he was re-arrested for alleged involvement in the murder of the magistrate. It is believed the wardens could have met Maringa while he was still an inmate at the prison.
The state initially charged the trio with murder but has since amended the docket to reflect premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and possession of firearm and possession of ammunition.
The state told the court that Maringa was attending approximately seven other criminal cases in different provinces. Maringa opted to abandon his bail application despite Fourie and Ngoato choosing to postpone their bail application until June.
Ngoato’s lawyer told the court that his client consulted a psychologist at Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services and was advised by the psychologist to consult a psychiatrist. He insisted that his client needed to be observed to determine if he suffered some form of mental challenges which require medication.
The lawyer also tried to convince the magistrate to dismiss a signed affidavit with Ngoato’s confession from evidence. He said because his client still needed to see a psychiatrist, many reasons could arise that could make the confession inadmissible.
However, the Magistrate denied the request, saying that it lacked logic.
"You can later claim that the State did not have evidence against your client, whereas it would have been this very same move that removed evidence presented by the State," Bekker said.
The trio will appear in court again on June 21.
Ngoato will also appear individually on April 12 for a drug smuggling case.
African News Agency/ANA