Cape gang leader decides not to testify at murder trial

Former Hard Livings gang leader Rashied Staggie has decided not to testify in his murder trial in the Cape High Court.

His advocate, Koos Louw, closed his client’s case on Tuesday morning without calling any witnesses.

Staggie is charged with the August 1996 killing of taxi driver Mogamat Ryklief, allegedly in revenge for the slaying three days earlier of Staggie’s twin brother and fellow gang leader Rashaad by vigilante group Pagad.

On Monday the state closed its case after leading evidence from only one witness — former police informer and drug dealer Donovan ”Weermag” Richards, who told the court he had been one of four hitmen acting on Staggie’s orders.

Richards said that although Ryklief’s father had been identified on a video as one of Rashaad’s killers, and Staggie had ordered the killing of the father, the hitmen had killed the son, Mogamat, instead.

In closing argument on Tuesday, prosecutor Anthony Stephen told the court that Staggie should be convicted of ”at least” the first alternative count, of conspiracy to murder.

It was quite clear that Staggie gave an instruction that there should be an assassination, and the four hitmen agreed.

Even if that specific person was not killed, the offence of conspiracy had been committed.

He said that the killing was ”in essence a revenge assassination” following Rashaad’s death.

The Hard Livings, a criminal gang, had been involved in the killing, and Rashied Staggie had been at the least a very senior member of it.

On those facts alone, the only reasonable inference was that the assassination was ordered by the top structure of the gang.

He also submitted that Richards’ evidence that the killing followed the video identification, was correct.

”It is quite clear that the instruction could have come from no other person than the accused,” he said.

Louw, for Staggie, said Richards had lied and contradicted himself, and challenged the state’s decision not to call any other witnesses, particularly Staggie’s former co-accused in the current case, Eugene ”Kojak” Mashonga.

Mashonga last week entered into a plea agreement and was sentenced to ten years’ jail.

Louw said a statement by Mashonga attached to the agreement contradicted Richards’ evidence, and calling him as a witness would have sunk the alternative charges against Staggie.

He also said the fact that Staggie was charged with the killing only seven years after Richards first told police about his role appeared at first glance to infringe on his right to a fair and speedy trial.

Staggie is currently serving time for other offences, including rape and firearms charges. – Sapa

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Just transition could secure access to cleaner energy sources in...

A researcher says Africa’s huge renewable energy potential could save lives from air pollution

South African entrepreneur seeks to turn caterpillars into tasty snacks

For many people, particularly from western European backgrounds, the idea of eating insects is still riddled with fear and inhibition

No shucks given at the Knysna Oyster Festival

The world of Knysna’s shores is everyone’s oyster this week. There is something for everyone: arts; entertainment; trail running; wining and dining; and chocolate making

What is reconciliation in the South African context?

In 2021, there were 16 different understandings of the concept. At the top of the list is the understanding of reconciliation as forgiveness. This is understandable but problematic.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×