'I was told I'd be killed in 24 hours if I did not change my story': Coligny witness
The sole witness in a murder case against two Coligny farm workers was allegedly offered R3m to lie about his testimony.
Bonakele Pakisi, whose testimony ensured that the two farmers were convicted last year, told SowetanLIVE he was shown a firearm and was forced to read an already prepared statement to "confess" that he had lied in court.
Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport revealed a recording in which Pakisi confessed to have lied in court last year.
The latest development could see the two accused, Phillip Schutte and Pieter Doorewaard, who were convicted last year, freed. The pair were convicted after being found guilty of killing 16-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu at Rietvlei farm in Coligny in April 2017.
Pakisi was kept in witness protection for the duration of the trial and was only released in August. He allegedly survived two attacks at his home about two weeks ago.
On Monday, Pakisi went to the local police station and told police that he had been forced by a relative of one of the accused to lie.
Pakisi said an unknown man had come to his house on January 7, and told him that the state advocate Rapula Molefe wanted to see him in Mahikeng. He said he then drove with that man but on arrival in Mahikeng, he was given R1,000 to buy himself "anything nice" while waiting for Molefe.
Pakisi said upon his return, he found Doorewaard's relative, Pieter Kirsten, waiting for him with the man who had driven him to Mahikeng. The driver was later identified as Reverend Paul Morule, who worked for Kirsten.
"I then realised that it was a set-up, I demanded to be driven back home but they refused," he said.
Pakisi said the men then showed him a piece of paper that contained a confession, which he was forced to read out while being recorded. He said Kirsten, a prominent Coligny businessman, also offered him R3m.
Pakisi said Kirsten had told him that he did not have a choice but to read out loud while he was recording him.
"He promised to give me R3m and also to build me a house [outside] Coligny if I say on record that the evidence I gave in court was a lie," he said.
Pakisi said at first he refused. "He then showed me a gun and told me that if I do not agree, I will be killed in 24 hours," Pakisi said.
Kirsten disputed Pakisi's version. "This guy [Pakisi] is not in contact with reality and I think it's time for him to be stopped," Kirsten said.
He claimed to have only seen Pakisi twice in court and at the police's inspection loco.
Morule told Sowetan on Monday he had made a recording of Pakisi and leaked it to the Sunday newspaper. Morule said he had recorded Pakisi's statement before taking him to his lawyer, who had also made another recording of "Pakisi's confession".
North West police spokesperson Sam Tselanyane confirmed that Pakisi had relayed the same story to police and that a case of intimidation had been opened.