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Daily roll call of arrests, NPA prosecutions and convic...

South Africa

JUSTICE TRACKER

Daily roll call of arrests, NPA prosecutions and convictions — 26 January

(Image: iStock)

Our round-up of successful criminal prosecutions, arrests or ongoing matters in South Africa’s courts. We do this to reflect on the rule of law and to make justice visible.

  • Western Cape 

The High Court of South Africa: Western Cape Division convicted Jacobus Petoors on charges of kidnapping, rape and murder of an eight-year-old Tulbagh boy, a few months after his release on parole for a similar crime.

Petoors (55) pleaded guilty to the three charges and the court convicted him immediately. The court then rolled over the case to 27 January for sentencing after hearing arguments in aggravation and mitigation of sentence.

The state alleges that Reagan Gertse was seen in the company of Petoors on the morning of 29 February 2020. On that day, the boy was invited to the party of Amelia Booysen at Blesbok Street, Tulbagh, scheduled to start at 4pm.

He attended the party but left after half an hour. Between 5pm and 6pm that day he was again seen in Petoors’ company. He did not return home that evening and his family became concerned.

A search for the missing boy ensued. It continued on the morning of 1 March 2020 and later his body was found in nearby bushes.

In his plea explanation, Petoors said that on 29 February 2020 he visited the NG Kerk to do his community service which was part of his parole conditions.

He did not find anyone at the church as he arrived late. As he walked back home, he saw Reagan Gertse at his home. He knew the boy as he stayed a few houses from the house he shared with his late brother, Kennels Petoors. He called Reagan and told him that he planned to go for a swim at the local river as it was hot that day. He alleges that the boy asked to go with him.

On their way to the river, he saw a woman walking with a boy. The boy accompanying the woman called Reagan, who wanted to go with the boy and the woman, but he fell.

Petoors grabbed Reagan, placed his arm around his neck and instructed the boy to go with him. When they arrived at the river, he raped him. Reagan asked to go home but Petoors refused to let him go.

Petoors dragged him closer to the river and pressed his head into the ground until he stopped moving. He then picked up his body and placed it near some trees with his face facing down.

He then went home. Reagan’s mother, Louisa Gertse, confronted Petoors about the whereabouts of her son, but he denied knowing where the boy was. The mother told him that someone from the community had seen him with her son. On 1 March 2020 police arrested Petoors.

He admitted knowing what he did was wrong. He told the court that he regretted what he did to Reagan and his family, asked for forgiveness and said that he took full responsibility.

In her heads of arguments in aggravation of sentence, advocate Maresa Engelbrecht told the court that Reagan’s murder forms part of the scourge of child murders plaguing the Western Cape and the South African community in its entirety.

“The accused was convicted of rape and assault with intent to do serious bodily harm on 24 July 2012. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and was released on parole only three months before he committed these crimes.

“Rape is always an appalling act, but the rape of a child under the age of 16 years, in this case eight years old, is viewed in a particularly serious light because children are vulnerable and ill-equipped to protect themselves against sexual predators. There is an unacceptable level of violent crimes in our communities and especially against children, women and the elderly.

“The accused needs to be removed from the community as he contributed to the very unacceptable high levels of crime in our country.”

She asked the court to impose life imprisonment as there were no mitigating factors.

“The accused did plead guilty but he had no choice due to the fact that his DNA was found on the scrotum and pants of the deceased.”

Petoors is serving the remainder of his 12-year sentence, which is 1,604 days.

  • North Gauteng 

Three accused, Tumelo Mokone (23), Kagiso Mokone (23) and Onthantile Sebati (20), were granted bail of R10,000 each by the Brits Magistrates’ Court. The three are facing four counts of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition and theft.

It is alleged that Sebati conspired with her co-accused to kill her family members on 6 December 2016, while the family was at home in Mmakau in North West.

It alleged that Sebati went outside to dispose of water and heard gunshots inside the house. A 42-year-old father, a 40-year-old mother, a 19-year-old pregnant sister and a six-year-old brother were all shot dead.

During the bail proceedings, the State put on record that it had evidence of bank statements that proves that R100,000 was transferred from Sebati’s bank account to one of the Mokones to share equally among themselves.

Fingerprints of Mokone were also found on the car Sebati’s father owned, which they allegedly used as a getaway car after the killings.

The investigating officer testified that the three accused submitted corroborating confessions stating the role they each played the night Sebati’s family was killed.

The State opposed the bail application of the accused since they are facing a Schedule 6 offence, and should they be found guilty they are likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment. The State put on record that the accused persons were a danger to themselves.

The magistrate granted them bail of R10,000 each with conditions that they report to their closest police station every Monday and Friday in the morning and evening.

They should not move from their addresses, and should they decide to leave they should inform the investigating officer of where they are going and the duration of their stay. Last, they should not contact each other directly or indirectly.

A report on Sebati’s psychiatric assessment was handed in court. The assessment found that she was fit to stand trial.

The matter was postponed to 30 March for further investigations.

***

The Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court sentenced Matome John Dikgale to an effective nine years’ imprisonment for throttling his estranged wife, Nthabiseng Dikgale, until she slipped into a coma, and for violating a protection order.

Dikgale pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and violation of a protection order on 1 October 2021, and was convicted on 21 December 2021.

Nthabiseng Dikgale had moved out of their marital home as a result of abuse at the hands of the accused and approached the family court for an order to bar him from entering her new place of residence.

However, in September 2019, the accused ignored this order and gained unlawful entry into the estate where Nthabiseng resided after calling her several times, requesting to see her.

He then assaulted and throttled her until she lost consciousness. Fortunately, Nthabiseng had summoned help from the estate’s security personnel, who arrived to find Matome throttling her.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) commended the regional court prosecutor Albert Dwera and investigating officer Captain Kekana for securing a successful prosecution that served to deter like-minded individuals.

  • Northern Cape

Four senior officials of the Northern Cape Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism have appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Kimberley.

The accused are the former head of the department, Patrick Seboko (66), Senior Manager: Project Team Tebogo Gaborone (60), Chief Director: Trade and Sector Development Susan Wyngaard (56)  and Chief Financial Officer Kuberin Packirisamy (60).

The four are facing various charges including contraventions of the Provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, contraventions of the Diamonds Act (dealing in uncut diamonds without a permit), and fraud.

The case has been set for 28 March to allow newly appointed legal representatives for three of the accused to acquaint themselves with the contents of the charge sheet after the trio had informed the court that they would be represented by new counsel. All four accused are out on bail.

  • North West 

The Mogwase Magistrates’ Court granted Oupa Nkele (41) R1,000 bail and his matter was postponed to 7 February for further investigations. He is charged with rape and attempted murder.

Owing to the serious nature of the offence, the matter was moved to the Mogwase Regional Court. The court warned Nkele that he should refrain from interfering with State witnesses.

The State had argued strongly against the granting of bail; however, the court deemed it to be in the interest of justice for him to be granted bail.

Preliminary police reports revealed that Nkele called the complainant and arranged for them to meet to discuss an urgent matter.

He collected her from her parental home on Wednesday afternoon, 29 December 2021. He then drove towards a local mall, but changed direction and headed to their house at Lerome village near Mogwase.

An argument ensued after they arrived in Lerome. Nkele allegedly assaulted and throttled the woman with a rope, then poured petrol on her and raped her.

He allegedly forced her into his car and drove away with her, but she managed to unlock the car and jumped out.

According to the police report, the woman received assistance from a good Samaritan who took her to the police station where charges of attempted murder and rape were laid, leading to the swift arrest of Nkele on Thursday, 30 December 2021. DM

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