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By Ilse de Lange


Court rejects R1m claim after ANC man’s assassination trial

North West ANC regional secretary Obuti Chika was shot at point-blank range in the driveway of his house in Klerksdorp on December 14, 2012.

A R1 million damages claim flowing from the trial of a group of men accused of assassinating North West ANC regional secretary Obuti Chika six years ago has been dismissed by the High Court in Pretoria.

Paul Molomonyane, 39, an ANC Youth League ward secretary of Klerksdorp, sued the National Director of Public Prosecutions for R1 million for his humiliation, deprivation of freedom and discomfort after he was charged with conspiring to murder and murdering Chika, but was acquitted in November 2014.

Chika was shot at point-blank range in the driveway of his house in Klerksdorp on December 14, 2012, shortly before the ANC’s national elective conference in Mangaung.

North West Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Papiki Babuile, who was an ANC member at the time, was initially sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for the murder, but was acquitted on appeal, along with three co-accused.

Molomonyane insisted the decision to prosecute him had been malicious as he was in hospital in Klerksdorp undergoing treatment for depression and “excessive drinking” on December 13, 2012, when he was alleged to have conspired with others to murder Chika.

He repeatedly denied any involvement and said his alibi should have been properly investigated before he was charged, as it should have been clear that there was no reasonable possibility of a conviction.

A magistrate’s court prosecutor and senior state advocate, Mpho Sono, both testified that they had decided to continue with Molomonyane’s prosecution after studying the police docket, which included a statement by a “Ms X”, who implicated Molomonyane as part of a meeting where it was decided to kill Chika. Both denied being malicious.

Sono said she realised Molomonyane’s alibi was not watertight when she found out he had been given permission to leave the hospital on December 13, which he did not mention in his initial statement.

Judge Dawie Fourie dismissed Molomonyane’s claim, saying the approach followed by the prosecutors was reasonable.

He said it appeared from some of the statements in the docket that Molomonyane had left the hospital that day and one could accept he had the opportunity to attend the meeting, which would lead a prosecutor to conclude that he should be charged.

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