GEORGE NEWS - Since the first witness took the stand last week, nine people had testified in the Mohapi murder trial in the George Circuit High Court by Tuesday afternoon, 13 October.
First in the witness stand was the local fisherman who found the 25-year-old Hlompho Mohapi's body on Thursday 5 July 2018. It was next to the gravel road leading to Voëlklip near Herold's Bay.
During his testimony the court heard that he found her lying face down on her stomach.
The second person to take the stand was the first police officer on the scene, who testified to have reached the scene shortly before 14:00 after the fisherman alerted the police. Mohapi's mother, Patricia Koloi, took to the witness stand on Wednesday afternoon, 7 October.
An emotional Koloi testified that she was in Lesotho for a funeral when her daughter was killed and only found out about her death on Friday 6 July. "They told me she was stabbed. She was no more," Koloi said.
The court heard that the last time Koloi spoke to her daughter was the day before the murder, when Mohapi told her mother about a job interview that she was going to at the airport the following day.
Next, Mohapi's brother, William Mohapi Koloi, delivered his testimony about the last day he saw his sister. The court heard that on the day of her murder, her brother and her boyfriend accompanied Mohapi to the "hiking spot" at the off-ramp to the N2 just outside Thembalethu. This was where her transport to the alleged interview at the airport would pick her up.
The court heard that two men in a silver Suzuki vehicle without number plates picked up his sister. He identified the driver of the vehicle as one of the three accused, Melisizwe Monqo. He also told the court that he saw one of the other accused, Phumlani Qhusheka, sitting in the back seat of the car.
His sister was asked to sit in the front passenger seat. This would be the last time he would see his sister.
After his testimony, court adjourned until Monday morning, 12 October, when Mohapi's friend and boyfriend at that time testified.
During her time on the stand, Mohapi's friend told the court that she was at home on the afternoon Mohapi was killed. The court heard that she received a WhatsApp message from Mohapi at approximately 14:15.
According to the message, Mohapi took a lift home with a male acquaintance and two coloured men after the interview at the airport and the men were threatening to kill her.
The message mentions the interview and that it went well and said the men had offered her a lift, indicating that they were going to Herold’s Bay to a girlfriend of one of the men. According to the message they turned onto a gravel road where they were threatening to kill her if she did not sleep with them.
Mohapi's boyfriend later testified to receiving the same message at 14:25 that afternoon. Both reported the alleged incident to the Thembalethu police, but by then Mohapi's body had already been found.
On Tuesday four more people testified, including the first police photographer on the scene and the owner of the rental company from which the accused rented the Suzuki.
Millions taken out on policies
Mohapi was allegedly lured to her death under false pretence of a job interview at George Airport. Life and funeral policies worth nearly R5-million were taken out on her name shortly before she was murdered.
The accused allegedly also attempted to kill another woman using a similar modus operandi in the Eastern Cape and also took out life and funeral policies from various companies on two other women's names without their knowledge. These incidents date back as far as 2017.
A total of nearly R30-million's worth of life and funeral policies were allegedly taken out on their victims' names without their knowledge.
Pastor pleads guilty to murder
Earlier last week, Monqo pleaded guilty to the murder as well as 14 other charges against him which include fraud, contravention of a protection order, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), kidnapping, aggravated robbery and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
His co-accused Siphosihle Pamba, who is also his wife, and his cousin, Phumlani Qhusheka, pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.
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 Qhusheka.
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