Inquiry postponed into Free State official’s murder

The judicial inquiry into the murder of former senior Free State official Noby Ngombane was on Friday postponed for a decision on whether his wife and family members should give oral evidence.

Willem Edeling, legal counsel for Ngombane’s wife, Nokwanda, and other family members asked regional magistrate Dawn Soomaroo to consider not calling the so-called ”suspects” to the stand.

”Two witnesses had conceded there is actually nothing against the suspects,” said Edeling.

Ngombane, a senior official in premier Beatrice Marshoff’s office and adviser to two former premiers, was shot at his Hillsboro home in Bloemfontein on March 22 2005 and died later the same night in hospital.

Nokwanda, her brother and sister, Bongani and Thandiswa, and two cousins, Vuyokazi Mlambo and Sephumle Booi, were arrested soon after the shooting and faced charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice, separately and jointly.

They were all at the house on the night of the murder.

However, all charges against them were withdrawn in the Bloemfontein High Court in September 2006.

Edeling said the inquiry had thus far delivered no suspicion that the five were responsible for the death of Ngombane.

He said the state’s main evidence — a telephone call to the local 10111 number on which it was thought gunshots could be heard — was well ”canvassed” and could ”bring nothing more”.

An overseas sound expert, who initially testified that a recording of the 10111 call had some distinct sound which could possibly be gunshots in the background, later conceded the opposite after listening to another recording made at the same time.

It was also reported that the investigating officers in the matter conceded that there was nothing which could link the five to the murder.

Edeling submitted that the ”suspicion” against Nokwanda and the rest had abated during the inquiry and that it would be a fruitless effort to call them to testify.

He argued that the affidavits the five made earlier, when they were under investigation, be handed in for the record.

Edeling also submitted that Nokwanda and her family had ”had enough”, referring to what they had gone through during the investigation.

”To put them under stress again, would not assist now. They have had enough now.”

The state’s legal counsel, Jannie Botha, submitted that the best people to tell the inquiry what happened ”were the people at the house that night”.

Botha said that in the public interest, the interest of Ngombane’s family and in the interest of a proper inquiry, Nokwanda Ngombane and the family should be called to the stand.

The magistrate was expected to give judgement on the request on Monday. – Sapa

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