The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) announced on Friday that the murder conviction against former North West EFF chief whip Papiki Babuile has been overturned.
The Gauteng South High Court overturned the conviction on Friday following an appeal process.
Babuile was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by the North Gauteng High Court sitting in Stilfontein outside Klerksdorp in the North West for the murder of David Chika‚ regional secretary of the African National Congress.
He was slapped with eight years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder and subsequently jailed in 2014. Bubuile was an ANC Youth League chairperson at the time the crime was committed.
Another suspect, Sihlangu Sikhakhane, who is believed to have pulled the trigger, was sentenced to life imprisonment and acquitted of conspiracy to commit murder.
Chika was shot and killed at his house in Alabama, Klerksdorp, on December 14, 2012, just two days before the ANC elective conference kicked off in Mangaung.
The EFF announced on Friday that the judgment is a political vindication of the party’s long-held position and a demonstration of its ideological dishonesty to the black emancipation struggle.
The party explained that wrongful judgments deny the people many years of their lives and destroy their livelihoods.
“EFF has always held that Papiki Babuile’s case was political and his imprisonment sought to kill EFF in North West,” it said.
The red block also disclosed that Papiki Babuile will now resume his duties as Secretary of the province in the North West with immediate effect.
“We welcome this judgment with sore hearts because our fighter lost two years of his life due to a wrong conviction,” the party added.
As of 2015, Babuile who doubles as the party’s legislature chief whip was reportedly running EFF’s affairs from his jail cell.
At the time, the party’s leadership insisted that nothing was amiss as Babuile was appealing his conviction.
The Citizen reported at the time that it was reliably informed that Babuile was earning an over R1-million salary package.