The attorneys representing Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela, his brother Mmusi Kgafela and thirteen other tribesmen in a case related to the multiple floggings in Kgatleng, said on Monday that they will oppose the warrants of arrest issued by Regional Magistrate Lot Moroka.
Moroka on Monday ordered that all fifteen accused be arrested and remanded in custody for failing to attend court. Defence attorney Advocate Sidney Pilane said they agreed with the prosecution that Kgafela and Mmusi did not have to be in court.
He however failed to explain the absence of the other thirteen accused.
The prosecution, led by Kgoseitsile Kgakayagae, agreed with Pilane that Kgafela and Mmusi may have been labouring under a false impression, but argued that the absence of the thirteen other tribesmen was a clear case of contempt of court. He said Kgafela and Mmusi should be spared, but demanded that warrants of arrest be issued against the other thirteen tribesmen.
For his part, Moroka said any negotiations concerning appearance and non appearance should be made with the court and not among counsel. He said Kgafela and Mmusi are lawyers and should have known that summonses are not negotiable.
“Indulgence between persons without the input of the court is not acceptable. It is also strange that all the other thirteen are not present. Their non attendance is prima facie evidence of contempt of court. Warrants of arrests should be issued against all fifteen of them” said Moroka.
He said the integrity of the court is also on trial, and he must uphold the court’s credibility.
Defence attorney Sadique Kebonang later told The Telegraph that they will challenge Moroka’s warrants of arrest against Kgafela and Mmusi because the prosecution did not apply for them.
“The magistrate misdirected himself. The prosecution did not apply for Kgafela and Mmusi to be cited for contempt of court” he said.
Late in the afternoon of Monday the defence managed to round up all the thirteen accused tribesmen, and applied to be given audience to explain their absence, with a view to having their warrants lifted. But Moroka was not available, and Pilane was granted permission to keep them in his custody and avail them on Tuesday morning.
Pilane later told The Telegraph that the thirteen others will tell the court that Kgafela told them that they do not have to attend court. On Tuesday, Moroka was expected to either release them or uphold the warrant of arrest.