GEORGE NEWS - As the murder trial of Hlompho Mohapi (Koloi) is slowly drawing to a close, one of the state's last witnesses started his testimony on Tuesday 23 February.
As more damning evidence was heard, the testimony of the detective, Sgt Thembekile Matwa, resembled a brutal, nearly fictitious, murder mystery.
Matwa's involvement with the case started on 6 July 2018, a day after Mohapi's body was found next to the road leading to the Voëlklip viewpoint in Herold's Bay.
On 7 July the first suspect, Phumlani Quesheka (31), was arrested in Knysna. During his testimony the court heard how he tracked down Quesheka by pinning the cellphone he was using - the same cellphone that was stolen from the deceased on the day of her death.
"When her cellphone was activated hours after her death, it had another sim card in," Matwa said.
He traced the sim card to a hiking spot in George near the Sasol garage on the N2 in the Kraaibosch area. From there the phone was picked up in Kaaimans Pass as Quesheka was in a Quantum minibus taxi on his way back to the Eastern Cape.
They eventually arrested Quesheka in Knysna after police stopped the taxi and Matwa asked all the passengers to disembark with their phones in hand.
"We kept on phoning the sim card's number and it kept on ringing but we couldn't hear anything."
As Quesheka passed Matwa while he was getting off the taxi, Matwa heard a phone vibrating in Quesheka's pocket.
When Quesheka was searched they found two cellphones and a packet of cigarettes. One of the phones belonged to the deceased Mohapi. A blood-stained shirt, a blue denim and a pair of men's shoes were found in his backpack. Quesheka was arrested and taken to George.
Furthermore the court heard how lies, fake names and contradicting statements between the other two accused, the self-ordained pastor Melisizwe Monqo (33) and his wife Siphoshile Pamba (27), finally lead to their arrests.
In his testimony Matwa said Monqo - who then introduced himself as Sipho Ngaka - and Pamba came to see him at the station the day after Quesheka's arrest to explain how Quesheka got hold of the phone that was confiscated from him.
He said they told him that Pamba had picked up the phone near a spaza shop in Thembalethu on the day after they arrived in George [Thursday 5 July] and she gave it to him. He also said Quesheka came from Cape Town and that only he [Pamba], and their child came from the Eastern Cape on 4 July, after which they picked up Quesheka from the bus stop in George.
During a formal interview with Matwa, Pamba later admitted that this was not the truth. She said she and Monqo came down to George to plan their wedding and Quesheka joined them and their one-and-a-half-year old baby on 4 July 2018.
She said on Thursday 5 July she and Quesheka were at a home in Thembalethu while Monqo went for prayer. The following day they went to see Patricia Koloi, Mohapi's mother, as they wanted her to perform Sotho dances at their wedding.
This was allegedly where they first heard about Mohapi's death.
The next day she went to the spaza shop where she saw the phone she gave to Quesheka - the same phone that was stolen from Mohapi the day of her murder.
Matwa also testified that during questioning Quesheka took him to the house where he and his co-accused were staying in Thembalethu. Here he noticed a silver car parked in the yard. It would later be confirmed that this car was rented by Monqo.
During his investigation Matwa obtained statements from Mohapi's brother and boyfriend, both of who said that Mohapi was picked up by two men in a silver Suzuki on the day of her death.
Accused's cell number on Mohapi's blood test
Monqo's cellphone number was also one of the contact numbers for an Outsurance life insurance policy on Mohapi's name, a policy that she was not even aware of.
Mohapi, who was allegedly lured to her death under false pretence of a job interview at George Airport, was under the impression that the HIV test was part of the job application.
However, during Matwa's investigation he found that life and funeral policies worth nearly R5-million were taken out on her name shortly before she was murdered.
During the nurse's testimony last year the court heard that she drew Mohapi's blood at Thembalethu Square as arranged and was under the impression that the HIV test was required by an insurance company for a policy. Monqo was arrested on Monday 16 July 2018.
The case serves in front of Honourable Judge Taswell Papier. Adv Evadne Kortjé is for the state, Adv Johan Visser (SC) represents Monqo, Adv Dawie Scholtz represents Pamba and Att Louise Luterek will be representing Quesheka.
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