#PrellerSquareShooting: Identity of witness requiring security to be unveiled

The identity of the unnamed witness in the murder trial of Bloemfontein businessman, Louis Siemens, whose appearance before the Free State High Court requires major security preparation, will be unveiled when proceedings resume on Monday morning.

Last week Thursday 21 November, prosecutor Johan de Nysschen requested Judge Pitso Molitsoane to postpone proceedings to Monday, to enable the state to prepare adequately for the next witness who is expected to give lengthy testimony and also be cross-examined by the defence for quite some time.

De Nysschen further said arrangements pertaining to security needed to be finalised before this witness can take to the box, leading to assumptions the prosecutor was referring to confessed assassin in the case, Xolisile Mbebetho, commonly known as “Botha”. More than a year ago, Mbebetho pleaded guilty to pulling the trigger that ended, the life of the then CityMed Managing Director, Louis Siemens, on 10 May 2018.

He was sentenced to 22 years in prison by the Bloemfontein High Court and turned state witness. The then 39-year-old gunman was arrested in Phahameng in early October 2018 after being on the run since Siemens was shot four times and killed, nearly five months prior.

During the pre-trial phase, accused number one and alleged mastermind, Stanley Bakili, allegedly sent “Botha” Mbebetho a letter, between July and August 2019, from the Grootvlei prison. In this handwritten letter Bakili allegedly threatened the lives of Mbebetho’s girlfriend and child should he continue with his testimony.

As a result, Bakili is facing an additional charge of obstructing or defeating the ends of justice. The last person to give testimony in the case during the fourth week of trial was a fingerprint expert at the Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC), Molefe Chomane.

As already reported, Siemens was shot and killed on 10 May 2018 in the basement parking area of Preller Square Shopping Complex. It is alleged the deceased was paying bribes to government officials through Bakili to have CityMed’s hospital bed licence amended to allow for more beds when the business partnership soured. Bakili is joined by Molebatsi Mogoera, Kagiso Chabane, Mojalefa “Jali” Molusi, Moeketsi Lesia, Clive Tshivenga, Karabo Tau, and Sizwe Mpati as the accused in the dock.

The men who are between the ages of 29 and 56, and include three police officers, a disbarred advocate, an accused in separate double murder cases, and a military man are alleged to have played varying roles in orchestrating Siemens’ murder.