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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 — 27 January

The authors argue that imprisonment is etched in the minds of some members of society as a panacea for crime prevention or a deterrent to crime, but that such thinking is problematic. (Photo: Pictrider via Shutterstock)

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.

  • Northern Cape 

The former head of the department of health and the current deputy director-general of the Northern Cape provincial government, with the two directors of Defensor Electronic Security Systems, have appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Kimberley.

The deputy director-general is charged with contravening the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Defensor Electronic Security Systems and its directors are charged with fraud and contravening the Private Security Industry Regulations Act (PSIRA).

The deputy director-general, as the accounting officer, is alleged to have concluded a contract with Defensor without following the correct procurement processes. The contract amounts to R453-million.

The accused are Defensor Electronic Security Systems, represented by Gert Renier van Rooyen and Claudius Gerald Peterson, in their capacities as directors of the security company, and Steven Jonkers, the former head of the department of health and now deputy director-general of the Northern Cape provincial government.

The three accused are all out on bail, with the two directors of the security company having been granted bail of R100,000 each and the former HOD being granted bail of R50,000.

Bail conditions are that they should surrender their passports and not interfere or contact any State witnesses. The matter has been postponed to 28 March 2022 for pre-trial consultations and to arrange a suitable trial date.

  • Limpopo

Themba Prince Willards Dube (36) appeared at Seshego Magistrates’ Court for allegedly killing seven women in and around Polokwane. He faces charges of seven counts of kidnapping, seven counts of murder and a count of being an illegal immigrant.

Dube was arrested on 3 November 2021 for possession of a suspected stolen cellphone that belonged to a woman who was allegedly kidnapped in Lebowakgomo in October 2021.

Dube appeared at Seshego Court on 5 November 2021 on a charge of robbery and kidnapping. The accused was in custody when investigations led to the discovery of the bodies of seven women dumped at various locations in the Seshego, Polokwane, Mankweng and Westenburg areas.

In 2021, it is alleged that Dube would lure women and promise them employment. The following victims have been positively identified by their next of kin.

  1. Sarah Moitswadi Mathiba (42) was reportedly kidnapped at Lebowakgomo;
  2. Moleboheng Mothibeli (34) a Lesotho national,  was reported missing in Polokwane during October 2021;
  3. Eva Khomotso Makhura (41), was reported missing at Seshego;
  4. Mpho Sanah Sinyatsi (34), was reported missing from Luthuli Park Extension 9L in  Seshego;
  5. Andrea Cholo (25), was reported as having been kidnapped at Seshego in September 2021;
  6. Chisimango Gumbo (48), is a Zimbabwean national, who was reported missing at Seshego in August 2021; and
  7. Jane Letswalo (42) whose body was found next to Peter Mokaba stadium.

The Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Ivy Thenga indicated that Dube would be tried in the Polokwane High Court. The matter is remanded to 28 February 2022 at Seshego Magistrates’ Court for further investigations and to get DNA results.

  • Mpumalanga

A 44-year-old man from KwaNgema was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Piet Retief Regional Court after he was convicted of raping a 16-year-old mentally disabled minor, his neighbour.

On the night of 24 December 2019, the accused and the victim attended a traditional ceremony at KwaNgema in Piet Retief where the accused was operating as a DJ.

The accused offered to take the minor neighbour home after the ceremony, but then lured the victim to an open veld, ordered her to undress and proceeded to rape her.

The minor reported the ordeal to her family. A case was opened which led to the arrest of the accused. The victim testified through an intermediary and told the court that the rape happened after everybody had left the ceremony.

Medical evidence was presented in court as part of the state’s case and a clinical psychologist presented evidence showing that the victim suffered from a severe mental disability.

In aggravation of sentence, regional court prosecutor Marlin Cairncross presented oral evidence to the court. A Victim Impact Statement showed that the incident had a physical and psychological impact on the victim.

In its judgment, the court found that the collaborative evidence placed before it was credible. It found the accused guilty as charged. The court found no mitigating factors to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life. The accused was further declared unfit to work with children and unfit to possess a firearm. 

  • Western Cape 

The Western Cape High Court has sentenced Jacobus Petoors to two life sentences after his conviction for the kidnapping, rape and murder of eight-year-old Reagan Gertse.

The court sentenced Petoors to 12 months’ imprisonment for kidnapping, life imprisonment for rape and life imprisonment for murder.

The court ordered the sentence imposed for the kidnapping to run concurrently with the sentence imposed for rape. The court further ordered the two life sentences run concurrently with the remainder of the 12-year sentence the accused is serving. He was then declared unfit to obtain a firearm.

Petoors is no stranger to the courts. At the age of 17 in 1983 he was sentenced for his first sexual offence, sodomy.

He committed a similar offence in 1984. Today’s appearance, at the age of 55, was his 11th before a court, his fourth conviction for a sexual offence and his sixth conviction for a violent offence.

On 24 July 2012, he was convicted for the rape of a boy and assault with intent to do serious bodily harm which he committed on 29 October 2011. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, served seven years and was released on parole.

The court heard that Reagan Gertse was seen in the company of Petoors on the morning of 29 February 2020. Between 5pm and 6pm that day the eight-year-old was again seen in Petoors’ company.

He did not return home that evening and his family began to get concerned. A search party was formed. The search continued on the morning of 1 March 2020, and later his body was found in nearby bushes.

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

He did not find anyone at the church, as he arrived late. On his walk back home, he saw Reagan. 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 requested 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.

Reagan wanted to go with the boy and the woman, but he fell. Petoors grabbed him, placed his arm around his neck and instructed him to go with him. When they arrived at the river, he raped the boy.

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, face 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 saw him with her son. On 1 March 2020, police arrested Petoors.

In arguments in aggravation of sentence, advocate Maresa Engelbrecht told the court: “The accused needs to be removed from the community as he contributed to the very unacceptably high levels of crime in our country.”

Acting Judge Wathen Falten agreed: “When I look at your time frame, you have spent a large part of your adult life in prison for crimes you committed. We live in a vicious and violent society where human life is not protected and valued anymore. You have violently taken a life of a child while on parole. You have shown no respect for the rule of law, no respect for children and no respect for human life.”

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Nicolette Bell, commended the commitment of Sergeant Anthony van Rooy and Sergeant Desiree Prins of Ceres FCS and Engelbrecht for ensuring Petoors received a sentence that fitted the gruesome crimes he committed against an innocent and defenceless child.

“This sentence is a reflection of our crusade against the violent abuse and disregard of the most innocent in our society, the children. Violent crimes against women and children are unacceptable, intolerable and will be met with the full extent of justice in our society, life imprisonment,” she said. DM

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