MASERU — A 45-year-old man from Ha-Khitšane in Mohale’s Hoek appeared in the High Court last week charged with the murder of a fellow villager three years ago.
Katiba Khitšane is being accused of fatally stabbing Teboho Motsamai on September 2 2007 following an argument at a local shebeen.
A witness, ‘Matanki Khitšane, testified before Justice Maseforo Mahase how the accused had challenged Motsamai to a fight which led to the alleged murder.
“Teboho wanted to go and buy some matches at a local café but was blocked by the accused, who challenged him to a fight,” Khitšane said.
“Then they started arguing near a chicken run.
“I did not see Khitšane stabbing Teboho but I saw Motsamai turning towards us and falling on his face as the two were scuffling.
“I then saw blood gushing out of Motsamai’s chest.”
She told the court the accused was holding a “short, shiny, silver knife” when he left the scene soon after Motsamai had collapsed and was lying in a pool of blood.
“I then ran to look for help while the accused, who looked very angry, went away in the direction of his home,” she said.
Khitšane said Motsamai died on the way to hospital.
“Motsamai died in a hired vehicle before arrival at the hospital,” she said.
“He had stab wounds on his chest.”
She told the court that Motsamai had earlier allegedly told her that the accused had stolen his chainsaw.
“They had fought days before over a chainsaw which Teboho claimed had been stolen by Katiba,” she said.
Other witnesses — Tšeliso Phamotse, Mapitso Motsamai and Maseapeli Khitšane — also gave their testimonies which were almost similar to that of Khitšane.
In his submissions, the accused told the court he only attacked Motsamai in self-defence.
“I was drinking my beer when Teboho Motsamai attacked me for no apparent reason,” Khitšane said.
“He asked me for a cigarette and I refused because it was almost finished and I was running short of money to buy another packet.
“The deceased grabbed me by my blanket and insulted my mother.
“He then struck me at the back as I ducked his blow.
“He hit me twice more. I was furious.”
Khitšane said he only pulled out his knife as a last resort.
“I stabbed him twice on the chest because I was afraid he was going to kill me,” he said.
“He was notorious for assaulting fellow villagers.
“He was a security guard and a well-known bully who terrorised other villagers.
“I never blocked his way as is being suggested by the witnesses.”
Khitšane alleged one of the witnesses used to have an intimate relationship with Motsamai which he claimed had led her to give an allegedly biased testimony.
“I only took out the knife when I was being attacked,” he said.
“The witnesses are taking sides and ganging up against me because they know one of them was Motsamai’s girlfriend.”
The accused is represented by advocate Pitso Pitso while the crown counsel is Hlalefang Motinyane.