I'm a language teacher - Katrina

Marking compositions taught her how to pick up copying

05 April 2019 | Justice

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has emphasised she is a language teacher and it was because of this she was able to identify striking similarities in witness statements, which she said pointed to “connivance engineered and manufactured by the Anti-Corruption Commission”.

Hanse-Himarwa stands accused of corruptly using her former office as Hardap governor for gratification, and has been implicated by state witnesses of having giving a directive that two Mass Housing beneficiaries Regina Kuhlman and Piet Fransman be removed because of their political affiliation, to make way for two of her relatives.

However, she has since the start of the trial profusely maintained that this was devoid of any truth and in fact a brutal campaign by the ACC to discredit and incriminate her.

To point this out she read out the paragraphs in state witness statements which she believes were “carefully crafted lies” by the ACC to incriminate her.

“I was marking compositions of learners and I could always pick up when they copied. So when I laid my eyes on the similarities of the witness statements, which are 99% similar, it told me that there was an intention to build a case against me that would sound real and convincing in the eyes of the court,” she said.

State advocate Ed Marondedze asked her to explain why reference was made to other suspects when she insists the ACC was bent on incriminating her, and her alone.

He asked her whether this does then not refute her argument that she was targeted by the ACC.

Hanse-Himarwa answered: “I guess they were perhaps seen as part of that.”

Marondedze then put it to her that “if you were not the governor you would not have been in a position to change the list of beneficiaries”.

“You only managed to do that because of your position.”

She, however, said she did not go beyond the parameters of her mandate as governor.



Contradictions

Judge Christie Liebenberg told Hanse-Himarwa he finds it peculiar that she knew nothing about the housing allocations.

The defence then called Hanse-Himarwa's former personal assistant Carl Christians, who worked for her during her time as governor.

Christians told the court he wrote a letter to Mariental CEO Paul Nghiwilepo asking that the former governor be kept abreast of developments relating to Build Together housing projects.

He pointed out he was prompted to write the letter after he was approached by three women, whose names he could not recall, who had complained that people who have applied after them were already approved as beneficiaries. It was a Build Together project that ultimately became the Mass Housing project that is under scrutiny.

Christians also told the court he also wrote a letter to the regional chief officer requesting frequent patrols at the Mass Housing units.

The case continues today.

JEMIMA BEUKES