South Africa

JUSTICE TRACKER

Daily roll call of arrests, NPA prosecutions and convictions – 2 February 2022

Daily roll call of arrests, NPA prosecutions and convictions – 2 February 2022

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

  • Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Division of the High Court in Makhanda (Grahamstown) sentenced an East London attorney to two life terms and an additional four years for raping and assaulting his wife. 

The 49-year-old attorney was jailed for raping his wife twice, in February 2012 and in May 2019. He was further sentenced to four years on two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. 

Judge Judith Roberson ordered that the sentences run concurrently, meaning he will serve life in prison. 

His applications for bail and leave to appeal were refused, and he was taken into custody to begin his sentence. He was found guilty in November 2021.

Judge Roberson had rejected his defence that he lacked criminal capacity, caused by a combination of alcohol abuse and a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Roberson concluded that his actions were focused and goal-directed. 

On 15 February 2011, the man and his wife were at their home in Beacon Bay, East London when she discovered messages from another woman on his cellphone. She confronted her husband and a physical fight ensued. She sustained injuries to various parts of her body. The wife was about 10 weeks’ pregnant at the time with the couple’s second child.

On 14 February 2012, the couple was celebrating Valentine’s Day at a guest lodge in East London. The accused had spent the latter part of the evening drinking with others, while his wife had gone to sleep. Upon his return to the lodge, the accused woke his wife and demanded sex. 

She refused and a struggle ensued. The man pushed his wife down, strangled her and hit her head against the floor. He then forced her to go outside while she was naked. When they returned to their room, he performed violent sexual acts on her, which included rape. She subsequently reported the abuse to her doctor and her mother.

On 11 May 2019, the couple attended a function in East London, where he consumed alcohol. When they arrived home, he demanded sex from his wife and she refused. He followed her around while they were inside the house and began to take pictures of her while she was naked. She tried to grab the phone but the accused took her by the throat, pinned her down with his knees and strangled her. He then dragged her into their bedroom where the assault continued. The beatings, rapes and violent sexual acts continued throughout the night. The victim was left with severe physical injuries. 

The accused took videos of these crimes, using the woman’s cellphone. He then transferred the videos to his phone using WhatsApp.

She reported the matter to her mother the following day and the man was arrested a few days later. Senior State advocate Nickie Turner was the prosecutor in the case.

  • Gauteng 

A specialist engineer, Xolela Masebeni (30) and his girlfriend, Athembile Mpani (20), appeared in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crime Court on charges of theft, fraud and money laundering. They were released on bail of R50,000 each and the case was postponed to 14 March for further investigation. 

The charges emanate from allegations that Masebeni siphoned R103-million from his employer, Absa bank, between September and December 2021, and transferred the money into six accounts, including that of his co-accused and girlfriend, Mpani. 

The alleged fraudulent transactions were uncovered by Absa’s forensic division and reported to law enforcement. Masebeni was arrested by the Hawks in Queenstown on 19 January 2022 and appeared in the Queenstown Magistrates’ Court the following day. The case was then transferred to the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court since the alleged crime occurred in Sandton, an area within the court’s jurisdiction. 

Mpani was added as a second accused on 31 January. 

Masebeni and Mpani’s bail conditions include that they should not dispose or destroy any of the assets mentioned in their affidavits for the purpose of the bail application. Masebeni is barred from entering the premises of Absa, in addition to not being allowed to access their database or storage system. Furthermore, both accused are not allowed to leave the Eastern Cape, where they reside, without written permission from the investigating officer. 

  • North West

The Itsoseng Magistrates’ Court postponed a case against four men accused of killing two police officers in Mareetsane, to 18 February 2022 for a bail ruling. A 16-year-old facing similar charges was granted R1,000 bail in October 2021, which the State did not oppose. 

Benjamin Jacobs (42), Jeremiah Mongale (26), Rapulana Keikantse (25) Matthews Modukane (20) and the minor are facing charges of murder, malicious damage to property, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of ammunition, possession of a semi-automatic firearm, kidnapping, possession of ammunition with intent to commit an offence and defeating the ends of justice.

The charges are in connection with the murder of Constable Simon Ngakaemang Ntsekeletsa (50) and Sergeant Mojalefa Horatius Molete (42). 

According to the police report, Ntsekeletsa and Molete had attended a stock theft incident in Mareetsane. When they failed to return to the station, they were declared missing and a search operation was conducted.

On 27 July 2021, the burnt remains of their bodies were discovered in the back of their gutted police car in Ganyesa. Investigations are nearing completion as the State is only awaiting DNA results.

Upon arrest, police discovered firearms belonging to the deceased and two cellphones and SIM cards that had been destroyed and thrown into a pit toilet at the home of one of the accused. 

The four accused will remain in police custody until their next court appearance, while the minor will remain under the care of a guardian. DM

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