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Malema threatens to appeal SCA decision to free pair jailed for killing teen



Staff Reporter

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has threatened to appeal a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to set aside the murder convictions against two men who were jailed for killing a teenage boy they accused of stealing sunflowers in a field in Coligny, North West, about two years ago.

Farm workers Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte were found guilty by the North West High Court of the murder of 15-year-old Mathlomola Jonas Mosweu in October 2018.

In addition, they were convicted of kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing a firearm.

Doorewaard was sentenced to 23 years in prison while Schutte got 18 years for killing Mosweu in 2017.

A seemingly disappointed Malema wrote on his Twitter account on Friday evening that they will take the matter to the Constitutional Court if the state does not appeal the SCA ruling.

“If the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) is not appealing to the @ConCourtSA, we will appeal it in the best interest of our people,” the EFF leader tweeted.

He did not elaborate on his planned action.

In a split decision, the SCA ruled that the evidence given by the state’s only witness, Sibongile Pakisi, was tainted by material discrepancies and that there was nothing to corroborate his testimony.

It said the appellants’ version of events was more probable compared to that of Pakisi.

According to the court, the state had the onus to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, but failed to do so.

Mosweu met his death after he and a partner were caught stealing sunflower heads on the farm belonging to the employer of the appellants.

The state’s case rested entirely on the evidence of Pakisi, who testified that he had observed the deceased being assaulted and manhandled by the appellants, before being thrown out a moving bakkie driven by Doorewaard.

Pakisi further testified that Schutte approached him to ask what he had seen.

And when he said “nothing”, he was allegedly assaulted repeatedly and forced to drink strong liquor, before being threatened at gunpoint, instructed to wade into a dirty dam and later to run while shots were fired next to his feet.

He claimed after feeling dizzy and vomiting, he was told to consume what he had regurgitated and put at the back of a bakkie with instructions to keep his head down while the appellants drove to the clinic.

Pakisi testified that he was then struck by something on the back of his head and lost consciousness.

But according to the appellants, after catching Mosweu, who tried to run away, they arrested him for theft and told him to climb onto the back of the bakkie.

They said the deceased first sat on the side frame of the loading bin, but was told to move to the middle and sit with his back to the driver’s compartment, which he did.

They then decided to take Mosweu to the local police station in order to open a case of theft against him, but they claim after driving around a bend, they realised he was no longer on the bakkie and assumed he had jumped off and made a u-turn.

They claimed they found the boy lying on the gravel road, injured but still alive.


Minister shuts down troubled Free State water supplier



MOVE GAZETTED . . . Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has disestablished Sedibeng Water

Staff and key assets from the embattled Sedibeng Water Board are set to be transferred to the Bloemwater and Magalies water boards following the gazetting of the move by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu last week.

The department’s spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said in a statement the development is in line with the minister’s commitment to review the country’s water boards to enable them to perform optimally while enhancing the delivery of water to municipalities and ultimately to households.

The decision to disestablish Sedibeng Water – which served Matjhabeng, Masilonyana and Nala local municipalities, among others – means its staff, assets and liabilities will be absorbed by Bloemwater in the Free State and Magalies in Gauteng.

The move, according to Ratau, was initiated by the minister following his working sessions with provincial governments, various water services authorities and water boards regarding issues of governance, financial viability as well as accountability and broader service delivery issues after taking office in August last year.

“The review is based on considerations of financial sustainability, servicing areas that are not currently serviced and is also intended to address institutional confusion caused by having multiple water boards serving the same area,” said Ratau.

“The disestablishment of Sedibeng Water is in accordance with section 28 of the Water Services Act of 1997 which affords Minister Mchunu the authority to disestablish a water board.

“The gazette was published on Friday, 20 May 2022 and will remain open to the public for a period of 40 days.

“Members of the public and all interested parties are invited to make comments in writing on the disestablishment of the board.”

The department said it will ensure there is smooth transition of the disestablishment and that water service provision to communities is not affected.

Based in Bothaville, Sedibeng Water was established to, among others, treat wastewater and supply potable water in a viabile and sustainable manner.

However, in recent years, some of the municipalities served by the water board have struggled over the years to pay on time for the bulk water supplies even though residents have argued that they pay their monthly bills on time.

At the end of March this year, Sedibeng reportedly owed its service providers over R5-billion as it was struggling to secure payment from several municipalities. – Staff Reporter

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Guptas lose application to have restraint order case postponed



NO SMILING MATTER . . . An interim restraint order against a company that Atul Gupta, seen in this file photo, co-owns with his brother and their wives remains in force

The Free State High Court on Friday dismissed a last-minute application brought by the directors of the Gupta-owned slandsite Investments 180 (Pty) to postpone the return day of the provisional restraint order against company, Iqbal Sharma and others.

Acting Judge Neil Snellenburg will provide a written judgment for dismissing the postponement application on Monday.

The directors sought a postponement pending their application to the Supreme Court of Appeal where they are appealing against a High Court ruling passed in August 2021 that said the business rescue practitioners of Islandsite, not the directors, have the authority to represent the company in the restraint proceedings.

Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said in a statement the interim restraint order will remain in force until the next court hearing on 20 and 21 October, when the confirmation hearing is expected to be heard.

The assets under restraint include properties of Iqbal Sharma and his wife, his UAE-registered company, Issar Global, his wife Tarina Patel-Sharma, as well as all property of Islandsite, which is owned by Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their respective wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta.

The interim restraint order was granted in June 2021, in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act (POCA).

Sharma’s assets that form part of the curator’s inventory include his Sandton home valued at over R12-million.

The property was featured on the lifestyle television programme, Top Billing, and is owned by Issar Global.

Other assets include movable property valued at R500 000, a Porsche and a R1.3 million sectional title home in Sandton.

Properties owned by Gupta family company Islandsite that form part of the inventory include a house worth R21-million in Constantia, Cape Town, and a R12-million house in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

Said Seboka: “The interim restraint order continues to run . . . that means the curator that is looking after the assets remains in place, meaning there is no chance for those assets being disseminated.

“The state is quite comfortable that the assets will not be taken abroad or be given to other people, in terms of the shares.

“They continue to be in safekeeping.

“For us that is pivotal and the court has found enough evidence in that respect.” – Staff Reporter

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Ex-MEC faces probe over failed R1-billion Free State housing project



NO PROPER LEADERSHIP . . . Former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane criticised

The State Capture Commission wants former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane investigated for failing to provide “proper provincial leadership” in a failed R1-billion provincial housing project.

The department’s former head, Nthimotse Mokhesi, told the commission, led by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that his office had made an advance payment of more than R500-million to the project’s contractors before any work was done.

Described in the fourth part of the State Capture Commission’s report as a “dismal failure”, the housing project was dogged by several factors including a decision by former Free State premier Ace Magashule to build bigger RDP houses from the initial 40-square-metre units without consulting the provincial human settlements department and the contractors.

The commission found that Zwane, the human settlements MEC at the time, “failed to provide proper provincial leadership” with regard to the R1-billion housing project.

The report criticised Magashule for not monitoring projects and not holding Zwane accountable.

It said instead Magashule made Zwane the MEC for agriculture, “where he continued with his dismal performance”, resulting in the Estina/Vrede Dairy Farm collapse. – Staff Reporter

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