Pensioner had no transport money to attend court

Tonga - An Mpumalanga pensioner accused of hacking his friend to death with a butcher knife was nearly arrested on Thursday after failing to appear for trial due to lack of transport money.

Mackson Elias Sibiya, 72, from Dludluma village near the Mozambican border, appeared in the Tonga Regional Court, a Sapa correspondent reported.

He pleaded not guilty to the murder of his friend Armando Manyonola Chauke, 50, who was hacked to death in a tavern brawl in October 2013.

Magistrate Edgar Moletsane asked Sibiya why he failed to appear in court on Tuesday and on Wednesday.

Sibiya shouted that he did not have money for transport.

"Your Worship, I didn't have transport money because I didn't manage to travel to Nelspruit to get my pension money. Even the money I used today was a loan from a friend who got paid yesterday," said Sibiya.

Moletsane said it would be better to lock him up to avoid his transport problems.

"Let our court orderlies lock you up because I don't like it when you fail to appear because of money issues.

"We do have free rooms and free transport here," he said.

Sibiya apologised to Moletsane, who postponed the case to October 21 for trial.