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‘Muti councillor’ to have her day in court

The woman who allegedly sought a traditional healer’s help to kill North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo is due to face the full might of the law when the trial kicks off on Thursday. 

Mahikeng local municipality councillor‚ Gaasite Legalatladi‚ is to answer to charges of a conspiracy to commit murder at the Lehurutshe Magistrate Court after he was arrested in December last year.    

Her crime, according to the state, is approaching a traditional healer to seek assistance to kill Mahumapelo and Mahikeng local municipality mayor Gosiame Seatlholo using muti. 

Political battle
The case exposes the battle for control of resources that has become a prominent feature in the North West province. Legalatladi is said to have wanted Mahumapelo dead because the ANC provincial chairperson allegedly took control of her family’s farm. Seatlholo’s crime was being appointed Mahikeng mayor, a position Legalatladi had hopes of occupying. The accused allegedly paid R800 for the initial consultation with the sangoma and promised a further R15 000 if the two were killed. 

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told the Mail & Guardian that the NPA was ready for the trial. “The NPA is committed to resolve all cases speedily,” he said.  

Mfaku said the court proceedings were expected to start at 9am.     

Last year, Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko said Legalatladi was nabbed when the traditional healer she consulted alerted the police of her intention to commit murder and agreed to co-operate with law enforcement agencies. The Hawks then installed surveillance equipment at the sangoma’s premises.     

It was 1am when the councillor returned to the sangoma for the ritual to ensure the mission to kill her political nemesis was accomplished. The Hawks surveillance captured how the sangoma, working with the Hawks, directed the woman to a kraal where the rituals were performed.     

Deadly ritual
Legalatladi allegedly stripped down and poured muti over herself after confirming to the sangoma that she wanted Mahumapelo and Seatlholo killed. But the Hawks arrested her as she was about to leave after performing the ritual. The councillor is out on R3 000 bail.      

Mahupamelo’s legal representative, advocate Raphepheng Mataka, said his team was confident the accused would be found guilty because of the overwhelming evidence against her. “We hope the matter is resolved speedily but they [the accused] may use every trick in the book to seek a postponement,” Mataka said.      

The case will pit against each other legal minds that have represented clients in some of the prominent murder cases in the province. Mataka represented former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans in the murder trial of former councillor Moss Phakoe and Legalatladi will bring to her defence Butch Schoeman of Schoeman Steyn Attorneys, a law firm that represented former local government MEC China Dodovu in the murder trial of Kenneth Kaunda regional secretary Oubuti Chika. 

Schoeman told the M&G he could not divulge details of the case before the trial kicks off, but said his team was prepared for the trial.

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