One of the four men accused of murdering Grahamstown man Thembelani Qwakanisa in october last year has last week pleaded to the lesser count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Thembani Onceya represented by attorney Henry Charles of Legal Aid SA, Akhona Onceya (Viwe Mqeke from Mqeke Attorneys), Simamkele Theron Onceya (advocate Charles Stamper) and Mzwanele Degree Maki (advocate JockMcConnachie) all pleaded not guilty in the High Court in Grahamstown to murdering Qwakanisa, whose body was found lying in Zion Dam in Extension 6 in tied in a carpet and a blanket on 5 October 2016.
Maki, a farmworker, aged 26, pleaded guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
In September Judge John Smith accepted the guilty plea of a fifth accused, Siviwe Gqotholo, and sentenced him to 18 years imprisonment for his part in the murder of the 29-year-old man. In his judgment the Judge recounted some of the worst acts of torture endured by Qwakanisa before he succumbed to his injuries and said Qwakanisa had been killed in killed “in the most callous and cruel way imaginable”.
The trial of his four co-accused was separated and began on Monday 4 December under Judge Thembekile Malusi.
Last week Senior State Advocate Heinz Obermeyer has called various witnesses including forensic pathologist Dr Stuart Dwyer.
According to the evidence of a friend and neighbour of the Onceyas, Qwakanisa had been suspected of stealing a laptop belonging to Thembani, as well as a pair of shoes.
The families of both the accused and the victim were present in court on Monday 4 December. The trial continues.