The Eugene Terre’Blanche murder trial enters its fourth day on Thursday in the wake of a key police witness’s confession that he had lied about certain details.
A police officer who testified on Wednesday admitted to being influenced by a senior officer into giving false testimony.
Sergeant Jack Ramonyane told the court that he wrote his statement about the crime the day it happened but wrote a second statement at his investigating officer’s request a few weeks later.
Chris Mahlangu (28) and a 16-year-old minor are on trial for the murder and attempted robbery of the slain leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging on April 3 2010.
Ramonyane was the fifth state witness to testify for the state into the killing of Mahlangu in the trial at the Ventersdorp Magistrate’s Court this week.
He told the court that Mahlangu had admitted to both killing Terre’Blanche and also taken the farmer’s phone to sell.
Mahlangu allegedly said he wanted to recoup the two months unpaid wages from Terre’Blanche, according to Ramonyane.
While under cross-examination the police officer admitted to falsifying evidence.
When the minor’s defence lawyer, Norman Arendse asked him if his first and second statement differed, Ramonyane said: “Yes, they do differ”.
In the first statement, the police officer wrote that Mahlangu had called the police to confess to the murder.
In his second statement, written a few weeks later, he said it was the teenager who had called the police on April 3.
Ramonyane would not admit outright that he had been intimidated by his superior Captain Tsietsi Mano but did say he was influenced into writing a second statement that was false.
“He told you to say things you didn’t want to say and he told you to say things you didn’t hear or see?” asked Arendse.
To this question Ramonyane replied: “That is so.”
Ramonyane also told the court on Wednesday that he did not see Terre’Blanche’s pants had been removed, saying he saw the bloodied body in a dark room with a torch. He testified to seeing a panga on Terre’Blanche’s chest and a lot of blood.
But in a previous statement, Ramonyane admitted to seeing Terre’blanche’s pants pulled down.
“You are busy telling this court a pack of lies,” said Mahlangu’s lawyer Kgomotso Tlouane. “That’s why there are contradictions.”
Ramonyane later admitted that he lied in his statement about driving the minor back to police station from Terre’Blanche’s farm.
Ramonyane’s colleague had, in fact, driven the teenager to the Ventersdorp police station. Ramonyane argued that he had written that he drove the minor back because it was according to his orders that his colleague had in fact driven the car.
Meanwhile, Mahlangu’s lawyer Tlouane also disputed all former claims that the suspect had fought with Terre’Blanche over wages. Instead, Tlouane said, Mahlangu had fought with his boss but not over money.
Mahlangu and the minor have denied killing Terre’Blanche.
The emergency services worker Robert van Heerden who found Terre’Blanche’s battered body is expected to testify on Thursday.
The trial continues.
For more on the life and times of the slain AWB leader, visit our special report.