The man accused of threatening to kill Eastern Cape department of health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo and Ngcobo-based medical doctor Litha Mboyana told the East London Regional Court yesterday that he was not a killer.
“I am not a killer. I am not a hitman. This case has ruined my marriage,” the accused, Mkhuthazi Excellent Gxaleka told presiding magistrate Nomthandazo Vabaza.
He described himself as a professional teacher and ANC ward committee member in Ezibeleni in Komani.
Gxaleka is on trial for a 2014 charge of extortion.
He is alleged to have called and sent text messages to Kupelo and Mboyana, claiming he had been hired to kill them and that they should pay up to avoid death.
Mboyana testified that he paid Gxaleka R115000, fearing for his life.
Kupelo testified that he did not entertain Gxaleka’s calls, and instead reported them to the police.
Gxaleka, represented by East London attorney Ntsikelelo Manyisane, yesterday denied calling the two men.
He said the calls were made long after his wife had lost his phone. He said he personally did not meet or know Mboyana and that he only knew Kupelo through the media.
But state prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa said that the evidence against Gxaleka was overwhelming.
This included cellphone billing records matching his location in Ezibeleni, bank records where Mboyana deposited R15000, and a photo identity parade all implicating him.
Gxaleka said he believed the R15000 bank deposit was a vehicle settlement amount from a Johannesburg friend of his called Mandla Mofokeng to whom he had sold a car.
He told the court that Mofokeng and Mboyana knew each other as they were involved in dealing with drugs that were used in the underworld of illegal abortions.
“Are you trying to paint this doctor bad in front of the court? These are serious allegations,” Ntelwa said.
Gxaleka said he was illustrating that Mboyana was not running away from him when he fled to Johannesburg but that he was going to meet Mofokeng for the purpose of the drug dealing.
The defence closed its case yesterday and the matter was postponed to July 7.