#VlakfonteinMurders: Trial Postponed As Phone Calls Come Into Spotlight

Police keep watch in a pack Protea Magistrate court where the two appeared in connection with the murder of three women and four children in Vlakfontein, South of Johannesburg. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – The cross-examination of investigations officer Banele Ndlovu in the Vlakfontein murder has been postponed on Wednesday.

Ndlovu was being cross-examined by Fita Khupe’s lawyer Gerhard Landman at the Protea Magistrate’s Court in Soweto, south of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Khupe, 61, and Ernest Mabaso, 27, are applying for bail on seven counts of murder, as well as theft. Mabaso is also facing three additional charges of rape.

Mabaso on Tuesday claimed to be ill but the medical reports on Wednesday reported that he was fit to stand trial.

The police discovered the bodies of four children and three adults buried at their home in Vlakfontein in southern Johannesburg in October.

During the hearing last week, Mabaso said that Khupe had forced him to rape the children before he killed them. Landman accused him of lying, saying that Khupe was in fact in Zimbabwe at the time.

“He was asking if Mbali (Khupe’s girlfriend) was back from KwaZulu-Natal since Mabaso told him that she was in KZN. Nothing on the call was about the murder as Mabaso claims,” Landman said.

Ndlovu said that the police had copies of the two suspects’ telephone reports.

When Ndlovu questioned why Khupe did not try to call Mbali himself, Landman said Khupe had called Mbali from his Zimbabwean number.

“Mbali’s phone was working our records are showing that, how come it didn’t show that Khupe tried to call her?” she said.

Mabaso said in his affidavit last week that Khupe called him and asked if he has done the job of killing the family.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and said his family could afford R5 000 bail.

Mabaso is a South African who was born in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, and holds a diploma in teaching obtained from the University of North West in 2012. The court heard that he was not employed at the time of his arrest.

Mabaso had previously indicated he would abandon his application for bail. However, he later opted to submit a formal application which led to the matter being postponed.

The matter will continue on Thursday and the pair will remain in custody.

Source: IOL