Ngombane murder: New facts may lead to acquittal

The murder trial of the wife and four relatives of slain senior Free State official Noby Ngombane was postponed in the Bloemfontein High Court on Monday because further information had emerged in the investigation.

The court agreed to a postponement until October 23, sought by the state, so that ”sensitive” information in the murder investigation could be followed up.

”The information is of an essential nature that justifies further investigation,” Andre du Toit, state advocate, said without giving any details. ”[It is] sensitive information which could affect the state’s case and further prosecution.”

Ngombane, a senior official in Free State Premier Beatrice Marshoff’s office and adviser to two former provincial premiers, was murdered at his Hillsboro home in Bloemfontein on March 22 2005.

In February this year, the state charged Ngombane’s wife and four other family members with his murder.

Nokwanda Ngombane; her brother and sister, Bongani and Thanthiswa; and two cousins, Vuyokasi Mlambo and Sephumle Booi, were all charged with murder, defeating the ends of justice and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Du Toit told Judge Arrie Hattingh on Monday that the new information had only emerged in the past two weeks and that it could have a ”fundamental” influence on the case.

”In the administration of justice, we would neglect our duty if the information was not followed up.”

Advocate Willem Edeling, appearing for the accused, did not oppose the application for postponement.

”The defence only heard about the issue this morning,” Edeling said, indicating that this might lead to the acquittal of the accused. ”We welcome the remand order under the circumstances.”

Hattingh granted the application in the ”interest of justice”, but did not rule on the nature or the trustworthiness of the information. — Sapa

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