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‘I was not part of mob justice’

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The three witnesses all claimed that it had been Thene who had led the assault on the deceased

Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE TRIAL of a group of Lesotho nationals accused of beating a man to death and setting his body alight during an apparent case of mob justice, will continue in the Northern Cape High Court this morning with the cross-examination of one of the accused, John Thene.

Thene, along with Mamotsebetsi Rhakojane, Bokang Sehapi, Khunoan Mafoe, Tebogo Ngoanahali, Retshidtswe Ngoanahali and Taeli Rakhiba, are accused of beating Skhukula Mosebetsi to death in Madiba Square on December 31 last year.

Thene yesterday refuted the testimony of three witnesses who had claimed that he had been the first to hit the deceased with a kierie on the night in question, saying that he had seen in the new year in Zastron and had only met his co-accused subsequent to his arrest.

The matter was postponed in September following the witness testimony of Veronica van Wyk, who told the court that she had been visiting her sister and fellow witness in the trial, Shirley, when a crowd of angry residents, including the accused, arrived at her sister’s shack.

According to earlier witness testimony, the sisters, along with the deceased and other residents, were seeing in the new year when their festivities were cut short when a friend, Ezekiel Ramakoae, returned from buying cigarettes covered in blood.

Ramakoae also completed his testimony during previous proceedings.

The three witnesses all claimed that it had been Thene who had led the assault on the deceased, an allegation that he yesterday said was an outright lie.

“If I was the first one to hit the deceased with a kierie, why then is my name not first on the list of accused?” he asked the State prosecutor yesterday afternoon.

“I was never at those shacks. I was not there on the day. I was in Zastron. I don’t know the accused and only met them on January 12 at Galeshewe court.”

Thene’s cross-examination continues this morning.