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Brits - Police investigating killings in the North West platinum belt were reprimanded by a Brits Magistrate's Court on Friday for shoddy investigations.

"The court is not satisfied about the testimony of the investigating officer," Magistrate Stanley Maribe said.

He was delivering judgment in the bail application of Samkelo Mkhutshwa, 36, charged with attempted murder of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) branch chairperson Malibongwe Mdazo.

"The investigating officer was evasive when asked questions, he was trying to close gaps... taking the court in circles. He did not investigate the matter."

He said when asked whether Mkhutshwa was married or not, Warrant Officer Johannes Montsho at one stage told the court he was not married and then turned around and said that Mkhutshwa's mother informed him her son was in customary marriage. He then claimed he went to the department of home affairs and found that there was no record of the marriage.

"The investigating officer was misleading the court and was not playing open cards with the court."

He said there was no clear reason why Mkhutshwa had been arrested.

This was the second time that investigators of killings in the platinum belt have been blasted in court for sloppy police work.

In November, Magistrate Reagan Rosenberg said he was disappointed in the manner police investigated the matter. He was delivering judgment in the bail application of Nkosinathi Mantashe, accused of the attempted murder of Mdazo. He was granted R10 000 bail.

"The court is disappointed in the manner the case was investigated and also the way the investigating officer testified in court," Rosenberg said at the time.

Answering questions from court, Montsho conceded that the only reason Mkhutshwa was arrested was that he allegedly told someone that he was involved in the shooting

Mdazo was shot ánd wounded on July 22 in Mooinooi near Brits.

Montsho said while taking a statement from Mkhutshwa, he confessed about the shooting, and he stopped for a senior police officer at the rank of captain to take the confession statement, but that that was not done because Mkhutshwa's lawyer made a telephone call and instructed Mkhutshwa not to admit anything.

However, Pontsho Raikane for Mkhutshwa, said he never contacted his client through a cellphone, and furthermore it would have been difficult to do so as Mkhutshwa was in custody and had no access to a cellphone.

Montsho had told the court that a witness had seen Mkhutshwa at a house in Wonderkop and was surprised to see Mkhutshwa there. The house was allegedly a place where people planning murders held meeting. The witness had gone to the police after his own brother was shot and wounded.

The witness allegedly told the police he saw Mkhutshwa at that house in Wonderkop and the police subsequently went to arrest Mkhutshwa in the Eastern Cape.

"The police drove to the Eastern Cape to arrest the accused because someone saw him in Wonderkop..."

He alleged that Mkhutshwa was paid R50 000 to kill Mdazo.

In his bail application, Mkhutshwa denied the charges against him and stated that he intend pleading not guilty. 

He was arrested on December 8 for the attempted murder case in Wonderkop, but the prosecutors at the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court refused to place his case on the court roll when he was brought to court on December 12 because 48 hours had lapsed following his arrest.

He was then arrested on the same day for the attempted murder of Mdazo and appeared in the Brits Magistrate's Court for the first time on December 13.

The third man arrested in this case, Simphiwe Silwane, 36, made his first appearance in the Brits Magistrate's Court on Friday. His case was postponed to January 9 for legal representation. He is facing a charge of attempted murder.

He will also be appearing at the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court in January, facing another charge of attempted murder. He was arrested in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape on December 22 linked to the attempted murder in Wonderkop and one in Mooinooi.

African News Agency/ANA