Seven Angels Ministries accused claim police coerced confessions

Andani Monco, Kwanele Ndlwana, Siphosethu Tshefu, Siphosomzi Tatsi and Phumzile Mhlatywa appeared in the Mthatha High Court on Thurday.
Andani Monco, Kwanele Ndlwana, Siphosethu Tshefu, Siphosomzi Tatsi and Phumzile Mhlatywa appeared in the Mthatha High Court on Thurday.
Image: ZIYANDA ZWENI

The youngest Seven Angels Ministries accused told the Mthatha High Court on Monday that he had a bright future and would never admit to a crime he had not committed.

Siphesihle Tatsi, 22, was cross examining former police officer Thembinkosi Duncan Bambalele on Monday. Captain Bongani Ngxola and Warrant Officer Zwelenkosi Diko have already testified.

A trial within a trial is now taking place as the accused dispute the confessions to the killings. All the accused are representing themselves.

Tatsi, along with Phumzile Mhlatywa, Andani Monco, Kwanele Ndlwana and Siphosomzi Tshefu are charged with the murder of five police officers in Ngcobo in 2018.  

They are also charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder, and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

Tatsi put it to Bambalele that Diko had pulled him by his testicles and grabbed him by the neck while he was being questioned by police officers, days after the officers were gunned down.

He also put it to him that a tyre tube had been used to suffocate him.

Tatsi told the court he had not admitted to anything of his own will.

“I feared I was going to die. That is why I admitted. I was under duress,” Tatsi told the court.

“It's a lie that I confessed freely,” he said.

“I have too bright a future to involve myself in such a bad thing [killing]. I am still young. What you [police] caused me to admit to is such a bad thing,” he said.

He said there were many police officers in the garage where he claimed to have been assaulted.

Replying, Bambalele said Tatsi had not been forced to confess.

“You were free. You spoke of your own free will,” he said.

Mhlatywa also had the opportunity to cross-examine Bambalele.

He too denied that he had willingly confessed to the crimes.

“You dispute that you [police] assaulted me? With my hands handcuffed behind my back, you [Bambalele] stepped in between my arms, pressing me down,” Mhlatywa said.

“There was no such a thing,” the former captain responded.

The trial within a trial continues. — DispatchLIVE



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