A case in which Bakgatla paramount chief, Kgafela II, and 14 of his subjects are facing charges of escaping from lawful custody has been postponed to July 22 next year.
Village Chief Magistrate, Oahile Mokibe, postponed the case on Friday morning after the court heard that the accused’s lawyer, Advocate Sidney Pilane, will not be available until April next year.
The prosecutor from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Thato Dibeela, did not object to the application to postpone the matter.
Dibeela told the court that the state was ready to proceed with the trial but the court postponed the matter due to Pilane’s absence in court. She informed the court of this when the other fourteen accused appeared in court on Friday morning.
Dibeela further told the court that they intended to call eight state witnesses when the trial starts in June next year.
Dibeela, who had previously indicated that the state was ready to commence with the trial this year in the absence of Kgafela, informed the court that Kgafela was nowhere to be seen. She asked the other accused to help the state to locate and advise Kgafela to appear before the court when the trial starts next year.
She confirmed that a warrant of arrest that was issued by the magistrate still stands because Kgafela was never arrested after the warrant of arrest was issued.
Dibeela further indicated that the state is working with INTERPOL in an attempt to locate Kgafela who has since relocated to his second home in Moruleng.
She asked the court to set five days for the trial. Mokibe set the dates for the trial for July 22 and 23 next year.
The magistrate would not comment on the issue of a warrant of arrest against Kgafela.