The State alleges that the accused stabbed Swartz multiple times with a knife and hit him over the head with a blunt object
THE NORTHERN Cape High Court heard yesterday how one of the people accused of murdering Kimberley resident Gershwin Swartz had driven around in the deceased’s VW Polo on the day that he was reported missing.
Alfred Tholwane yesterday testified that Shaun Carelse had been in possession of Swartz’s Polo on July 13, 2016.
Carelse and his two co-accused, Mamogelo Mcumi and Boitumelo Matlhola, are accused of kidnapping and murdering Swartz. The three accused are also facing an additional charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The State alleges that the accused stabbed Swartz multiple times with a knife and hit him over the head with a blunt object.
It is also alleged that the accused stole various items, including two cellphones, and Swartz’s car.
Swartz’s body was found in a veld on July 16, 2016 after police and members of neighbourhood watch and Wanya Tsotsi launched an intensive search following the 24-year-old’s disappearance on July 13.
His body was found just outside the city, close to the shooting range, with multiple stab wounds.
Tholwane, who is employed as a car washer at the Indian Centre, testified that Carelse had gave him a wheel from the back seat of the Polo after he found it parked at the rank.
He said that he found the car parked at the taxi rank at the centre and was informed that the vehicle belonged to Carelse.
“That morning (Wednesday, July 13, 2016), at around 8am, I saw a blue Polo parked at the rank. I parked next to the Polo. I was told by some other people that the car had been driven there by Shaun, when I asked who the owner was. They said Shaun had gone to buy petrol for the car,” said Tholwane.
“Shaun arrived about 15 minutes later with a container of petrol. He tried to open the petrol cap and I went to assist him but I also could not (open it). He then took a spoon from the car which he used to open the petrol cap and poured the petrol in the tank.”
Tholwane said that Carelse then took a wheel, which was on the back seat of the car, and gave it to him.
He added that there was no discussion between himself and Carelse about what he should do with the wheel.
“Shaun opened the right back door of the Polo and took out the wheel and gave it to me. The wheel was on the back seat. The wheel was fitted with a five-star rim, the same as the ones on the car. Shaun put the wheel on the back seat of my vehicle.”
Tholwane said that later that day he took the wheel home, but was shocked to see a picture of the Polo, which Carelse had been driving, in the DFA a few days later.
“The Friday (July 15), when I arrived at work, some men showed me the photo of the car in the newspaper. It was the same Polo that Shaun had been driving.
“A police officer arrived at the rank and asked where Popeye (Mocumi) was, claiming that the vehicle in the paper was seen in the vicinity where we were washing cars. I told the officer that I had been given a wheel from that car. I handed the wheel to the investigating officer on the Monday and he also took my statement that day,” Tholwane added.
Tholwane, during cross-examination by Carelse’s attorney, Lentswe Setouto, said that although he was aware that the wheel was expensive, it was handed to him freely by the accused.
“The wheel was given to me. There were four wheels on the car and I was given the fifth one by Shaun. I did not ask for it. Shaun took out the wheel and said he was giving it to me. There was no discussion on whether he was selling it to me and I did not even carry the wheel to my car,” he testified, while Carelse sat laughing in the dock.
Tholwane further stated that there was a woman, who was covering her face, sitting inside the Polo at the time.
According to Setouto, Carelse had asked Tholwane to keep the wheel as it was not safe to keep it on the back seat and that he could not open the boot of the car to store the wheel in the boot.
Tholwane disputed this and stuck to his version of events – that there was no discussion about the wheel.