Panelbeater testifies in Lucky Dube trial

A witness testifying in the Lucky Dube murder trial identified one of the accused as having asked him to fix a green Volkswagen Polo, the Johannesburg High Court heard on Tuesday.

The VW Polo is the same vehicle which was hijacked from Melissa Mallworth, who testified on Monday in the trial of the three men accused of murdering the reggae star outside his brother’s house in 2007.

Mallworth was one of the people allegedly hijacked by the accused on the night of October 20 2007, a week after Dube was killed.

David Mohlabai, a panelbeater in Katlehong, said he and accused number three, Mbuti Mabe, met on a highway.

He said that Mabe was driving a green VW Polo while another man who he was with was driving a maroon bakkie.

“We ultimately agreed to drive to my workshop in KwaThema with Mbuti still driving the Polo. But when we got there it was closed,” Mohlabai said.

Mohlabai said he called his friend Jeremiah Mbokazi who lived nearby to get permission to park the vehicle in his yard.

He said that Mbokazi called him early the following morning asking him to come to his house because police were there.

“When I got there I saw Mbuti, Mbokazi and another man who is not in court today,” he testified.

This is the same man who was allegedly with Mabe the previous day when they met on the highway.

Mohlabai said he told police that Mabe left the car there, which Mabe did not dispute.

Referring to an exhibit of photographs of the car, which were also used in Monday’s hearing when Mallworth described details of her hijacking by unknown men, Mohlabai said it showed the damage Mabe wanted him to fix.

Mabe, Sifiso Mhlanga and Julius Xowa, all in their thirties, are on trial for the murder of Dube outside his brother’s house in Rosettenville, southern Johannesburg, on October 13 2007.

The accused pleaded not guilty to all charges levelled against them which include three counts of hijacking, murder with aggravated circumstances, robbery and possession of two unlicensed firearms.

Meanwhile on Monday in court Mallworth said she did not recognise the accused.

She said on the night that she was hijacked she pulled into the driveway of her Brackenhurst home at 11pm, and had climbed out of the car.

“I opened the gate, and I saw a blue Citi Golf pull out at the back of my car.”

Mallworth said two men approached her, took her keys and told her to lie down in the yard. She said her pockets were searched but the men did not find anything.
They then drove away with her cellphone, laptop and clothes. Although the car was recovered a week later in Spruitview on the East Rand, her valuables were never recovered.

Mallworth said she went to the Booysens police station after the hijacking and identified her car, but she could not remember the exact date.

“I don’t know how police recovered it,” she said.

State prosecutor advocate Mashiyane requested that Mallworth look at the three men in the dock and asked her if she knew them, to which she replied: “No”.

Earlier during the court proceedings, all three defence counsels contested the legality of an identity parade which was carried out after the men’s arrest.

The counsels said that the identity parade was conducted after the accused had appeared in a lower court, adding that witnesses had seen them.

They also said that the accused were not offered legal representation at the time.—Sapa

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