Teen’s alleged murderer claims he was a police informer

James Shomolekae hugs his mother, Annie Van Rooyen. The sad and shaken mother apologised to Lesley’s relatives on Monday. Photo: Selogile Leshage

The 31-year-old James David Shomolekae accused of strangling 16-year-old Lesley Makousa to death with a shoelace believes he is being framed after leaving his job as a police informer, the Potchefstroom High Court heard on Tuesday.

Shomolekae has been accused of killing Lesley Makousa by strangling him with a shoelace, assaulting him and stealing his phone and a house key and stealing a stove and phone belonging to Lesley’s mother, Pamela. He is also accused of assaulting two men and robbing them of their cell phones at knifepoint on 1 August 2016.
The Herald reported last year how a passerby discovered the body of Lesley in the bushes on the morning of 6 August.
On the stand on Tuesday, the second day of the trial, the accused rubbished the claims that he was with Lesley in the early hours of the morning of 6 August. He admitted that he had been with him but not at the alleged time. He also refuted the testimonies of the state witnesses including the police detective, Sgt Kubu.
The state prosecutor, Adv. Lawrence More questioned his stance and asked how it was possible that four people lied about him for no apparent reason.
Shomolekae then made a startling revelation that he was, in fact, a police informer. ‘The reason I ended up where I am is that I stopped being an informer and this did not sit well with Detective Kubu. I stopped being an informer because it was dangerous. It paid well but it put my life at risk,’ he said.
The prosecutor put it to Shomolekae that he confided in his cell mate that he had killed Lesley. Shomolekae again denied this and said his cell mate had cut a deal with the state to be released with a warning.
On Monday, Lesley’s mother, Pamela Makousa described her desperate search for her son after someone called her to say that the door of their two-roomed shack was standing open. She cried as she told the court when she found out that her son was dead. The other relatives also sobbed.
Judge David Makhoba sympathised with the mother but urged her to contain herself. ‘It is painful to have to relive this,’ he said.
When the defence, Adv. Anneke Van Wyk asked her if her son was gay, Pamela said no, and also denied that he had used drugs. The defence argued that the deceased and the accused had both gone to sell the stove for drugs, which they had then smoked.
‘The accused will testify that he blacked out after they used the drugs and that Lesley was still alive,’ she said. The mother said this was untrue and she did not agree with this testimony.
The trial continues on Thursday when the defence and state prosecutor will present their cases for finding Shomolekae guilty or otherwise.
Selogile Leshage

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