Maswanganyi accused 'tortured' into confessing

One of the accused has alleged that he was tortured into confessing to Maswanganyi's murder.

Major General Tirhani Maswanganyi, whose body was found in a field near Hammanskraal. Picture: Supplied.

PRETORIA - A Pretoria court has heard how police allegedly repeatedly tortured one of the men accused of murdering senior Johannesburg policeman Tirhani Maswanganyi as well as forced him to plead guilty to all charges.

The officer's half-naked body was discovered bound and dumped in a field near Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, in June.

The four accused, Private Isaac Vele, Tshepo Mosai, Roger Moseki and Corporel Daniel Nefolovhodwe, have been applying for bail in the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court.

The Pretoria North Magistrate's Court heard how one of the accused was approached by the police in his cell where he was forced to sign a statement he had not written.

However, he said he signed the statement because he was scared.

He and two of his co-accused have claimed they have been tortured by the police since their arrest in order to make a confession about the murder.

He also claimed police are forcing him to turn state witness despite his complete lack of knowledge about the murder.

The four accused will resume their bail application in September.

SANDF MEMBERS

Earlier this month, it emerged that three of the four men accused of murdering Maswanganyi are members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

Under cross examination, Nefolovhodwe said he knew his co-accused Moseki was a member of the infantry.

He said he also worked in the same unit as co-accused Vele, but claimed he wasn't his friend, but only a colleague.

Vele has a previous conviction for rape, for which he received a suspended sentence.

He told the court he couldn't understand how he's been implicated in the murder because on the day in question he was picking up his chief of staff at OR Tambo International Airport.

Vele's commanding officer has written an affidavit supporting his claim, but it emerged in court that the document hadn't been commissioned.

Nefolovhodwe said he met the other accused, Mosai, while visiting Moseke's home in Roodepoort.

The state has also alleged that a week before Maswanganyi's murder, the four accused conspired to murder another police officer.

While it's clear their plan didn't materialise, further details are expected to emerge in court.

Because of the seriousness of the crime, the accused will have to show exceptional circumstances why they should be released on bail.