South Africa

JUSTICE TRACKER

Daily roll call of arrests, NPA prosecutions and convictions — 24 January 2021

(Photo: iStock)

Our daily roll call of successful criminal prosecutions, arrests or ongoing matters in South African courts. We do this to reflect on the rule of law and to make justice visible.

  • Gauteng

The trial against Ntuthuko Shoba, the alleged mastermind in the murder of Tshegofatso Pule, began in the Johannesburg High Court with the accused, Ntuthuko Shoba, pleading not guilty.

Among admissions made by Shoba were that the vehicle tracking report from Cartrack was true and correct and that the cellular mapping by Cyber Crime and Deep Web investigator, Warrant Officer Andries van Tonder, was true and correct.

Senior State advocate Faghre Mohammed opened the State case, leading evidence from Pule’s friend. She detailed the type of person Pule was and what she knew about her relationship with Shoba.

Shoba faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice. He was arrested on 18 February 2021, a day before confessed triggerman, Muzikayise Malephane, was sentenced by the above-mentioned court to 20 years’ imprisonment following his plea of guilty.

Malephane entered into a plea and sentence agreement with the State with the condition that he would testify in the State case against Shoba.

Malephane implicated Shoba as the “contractor” for Pule’s murder and detailed that Shoba offered him R70,000 to carry out the murder, in a quest to prevent his wife from finding out about Pule’s pregnancy.

The trial continues.

  • Mthatha 

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has successfully opposed the bail application of EmaXesibeni (formerly Mount Ayliff) pastor Mbongiseni Pakade (45), who is charged with raping a 16-year-old.

Magistrate Gcinabantu Jubase ruled that the release of Pakade would not be in the interests of justice as the reasons were not satisfactory.

In opposing bail, prosecutor Mzolisi Sijadu led the evidence of investigating officer Sergeant Nolundi Sikwati, that Pakade was very influential and might interfere with witnesses, adding that his release on bail might send a sense of shock, resulting in public disorder.

It was also revealed that there were two more sexual offences cases against Pakade pending the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Pakade initially abandoned bail when he made his second appearance in December, but made a fresh bid to be released on bail earlier this month.

He is a well-known pastor of God’s Power Family Church in the Sugarbush area. He is alleged to have raped his daughter’s friend on 20 October 2021, when he picked up the girl who was walking from school, and drove her to a nearby forest where he raped her, after which he threatened her and told her not to tell anyone.

The complainant reported the rape after confiding in her teacher, who had noticed that she was not performing well in her examinations.

The case has been postponed to 28 February for the DPPs decision.

  • Limpopo

Three alleged ATM bombers and robbers of the Malamulele police station, Godfrey Mabunda (41), Sello Simon Sedi (42) and Tumbu Gadron Makutu (48) appeared in Malamulele Magistrates’ Court, accused of allegedly attacking and robbing the station on 21 November 2021 at about 11pm and also bombing several ATMs across Limpopo.

A group of heavily armed suspects stormed the Community Service Centre (CSC), robbed members on duty of their firearms and locked them in the back of a police van.

They proceeded to take R4 rifles, pump-action firearms, pistols and ammunition from the safe and left the station after locking the gate. They proceeded to rob nearby businesses.

Hard work by a dedicated team of investigators of the SAPS Limpopo Special Task Team resulted in the arrest of 10 suspects on Thursday, 19 January 2022. Seven suspects were found in their hideout at Medinyeng Village near Kgapane in the Bolobedu area outside Tzaneen and three were arrested at a lodge in the Dwarsloop area outside Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga.

This happened after information was received about the suspects intending to bomb more ATMs in Mpumalanga.

The suspects were positively linked to several bombings and armed robberies in the province, including a recent incident at a filling station near the Capricorn toll gate, where a police warrant officer was shot and wounded in the process.

They were also involved in an incident in which a police sergeant attached to Botlokwa police station was robbed of his service pistol, R5 rifle and bulletproof vest.

The team managed to recover the following items: four R5 rifles, four shotguns, three 9mm pistols and ammunition, police bulletproof vests, explosives, illicit cigarettes, blasting cartridges, overalls, balaclavas, security uniform, a cash amount of money and shoes.

Two motor vehicles reportedly used to commit these crimes were also seized.

The suspects have appeared in magistrates’ courts across Limpopo and Mpumalanga, facing charges of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of explosives, conspiracy to commit crimes, attempted murders, robbery with aggravated circumstances, carjackings and attacks on police stations.

The matter has been postponed to 2 February 2022 for further investigation and possible centralisation of the cases.

  • Free State

The Bloemfontein High Court has handed a 25-year-old man from Brandfort an effective 20 years’ imprisonment after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend on 2 May 2021.

Judge Sylvia Daniso sentenced Lebohang Lucas Morake for the murder of Angelina Dora Lecwidi.

Morake and Lecwidi were drinking at a local tavern when they were involved in an argument after he accused her of cheating.

He grabbed her and pulled her outside. He then assaulted her, hitting her with his fists, kicking her and hitting her head against a stone.

She died two days after being admitted to hospital. The cause of death was recorded as a blunt head injury. She was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.

Morake, in his defence, told the court that he never intended to kill Lecwidi and her death was a mistake.

However, State prosecutor Tholoana Sekhonyana requested the court reject his version because the doctor who conducted the post-mortem testified that the injuries sustained by the deceased could only be as a result of a heavy beating or a fall from a considerable height.

“The post-mortem revealed that the deceased suffered fatal injuries because she was severely assaulted and therefore, the accused cannot tell the court that her death was a mistake as he was aware of his actions. The death of the deceased has affected her family as evidenced in the three victim impact statements that were written by the aunt, sister and the cousin of the deceased”, said Sekhonyana.

Sekhonyana further told the court that the accused failed to advance any compelling and substantial circumstances. Therefore, the court should impose a heavy sentence that would send a message that the courts were taking femicide cases seriously considering that the country was relying on courts for the punishment of perpetrators of these offences.

The acting Director of Public Prosecutions in the Free State, Navilla Somaru, has commended the prosecutor and the investigating officer, constable Rabonane Kokoane, for ensuring that the accused received punishment for his actions. DM

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