#PrellerSquareShooting trial postponed to 2021

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The long-awaited outcome in the murder trial of former CityMed Managing Director Louis Siemens has been dealt a blow by Judge Pitso Molitsoane’s unavailability for the rest of the year due to an illness.

OFM News reports that the trial in which eight men, including Stanley Bakili, stand accused of Siemens’ murder has now been postponed to 12 to 30 April 2021 for continuation. There will then be a break of about 14 days before the finalisation of the trail, set to commence from 17 May to 18 June 2021.

Monday’s postponement is at least the fourth one in two weeks since the restart of the trial in November.

Last week, on two occasions, Judge Marth Mbele had to step in for Judge Molitsoane and postpone the matter because he fell ill. The trial has been marred by long postponements and delays, which in some instances were caused by the complication as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The trial is going into a recess with the convicted killer and key state witness, Xolisile Botha Mbebeto, on the stand.

Siemens – the then MD of the day hospital CityMed – was shot four times assassination-style in the basement parking of the Preller Square Shopping Complex in May 2018. Ten men have been arrested for playing various direct and indirect roles in orchestrating and carrying out the murder. Eight of those arrested are standing trial while the others have turned state witnesses.

Since the trial started on 28 October 2019, almost two dozen people took the stand, including high profile government officials such as Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, the Free State Health HOD David Motau, and former provincial Health MEC Benny Malakoane. They each denied having any involvement or knowledge of bribes being paid by accused number one, Stanley Bakili, on behalf of the deceased for the amendment of CityMed’s hospital licenses to allow for more beds.

OFM News/LUCKY NKUYANE