Mark Khumalo, the father of Sifiso Mkhwanazi, 21, who is charged with six counts of murder and rape of sex workers, has denied influencing him to confess under duress.
This was during a trial-within-a-trial at the Gauteng High Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, where Khumalo was being cross-examined following the start of a new trial to determine the admissibility of a confession Mkhwanazi had volunteered.
Khumalo also denied having coached his son on what to say during the trial.
“It is not correct that I coached him on what to say during the proceedings. As a father, I would have told him to deny everything and I might have slapped him days before he was arrested on a Sunday, because as a father I sometimes use physical means to correct him. It is however not true that I coached him but only advised him based on what he had told me during my visit,” he said.
Khumalo revealed that his son had called asking to see him.
“He still had his phone when he called me but the phone he used was not his phone but he did indicate that his phone was at the cells.”
On Monday, the court heard how six bodies were discovered at various sites including dustbins and chimneys after a foul smell engulfed Khumalo’s warehouse in October 2022.
Khumalo confirmed some of the circumstances leading up to the discovery of the six bodies, and his son’s state of mind when he spoke to him during a meeting.
He said that the bodies could not be recovered in time because the person responsible was among them.
“We could have spent between 2 to 6 months before going to those places... After his arrest, he phoned me saying he was going to court. He asked if I was coming. I said I will come,” he said.
The State argued that Mkhwanazi’s confession was obtained voluntarily while his lawyers argued that it was obtained through unethical means which had resulted in the main case being halted. This was to investigate the admissibility of the confession in light of protestations of the accused that his father and the investigating officer had unduly influenced him to make the confession.
Leading up to his arrest, police viewed CCTV footage of Mkhwanazi and a woman who is believed to be his last victim entering the building.
The matter will continue on Wednesday.