South Africa

JUSTICE TRACKER

Daily roll call of arrests, NPA prosecutions and convictions – 3 March 2022

(Photo: iStock)

A round-up of successful criminal prosecutions, arrests or ongoing matters in South Africa’s courts based on media releases from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This is done to reflect on the rule of law and to make justice visible.

  • Northern Cape

The trial of four men accused of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl in June 2020, which was scheduled to commence in the Kimberley Sexual Offences Court, has been delayed by the Kimberley Magistrates’ Court.

The four accused, one of whom is the stepfather of the child, were arrested at a farm near Kimberley. Three of the accused, also family members, were arrested immediately after the case was opened.

NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said the fourth suspect was arrested after an intensive year-long search by the South African Police Service Tracing Team. 

The magistrate will set a new trial date at the next appearance of the accused on Wednesday, 9 April.

In another matter, Matshidiso Cordelia Mogale (48), the former municipal manager of Phokwane Local Municipality, made a brief appearance in the Hartswater Magistrates’ Court.

He faces eight charges of fraud as well as contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act, amounting to more than R2.7-million.

NPA spokesperson Senokoatsane said during Mogale’s previous court appearance on Tuesday, 8 February, Mogale failed to present herself to court due to ill-health and was presented by her legal representative.

The investigation, which is being undertaken by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, is ongoing, Senokoatsane said. The case will be back in court on 24 May.

  • KwaZulu-Natal

A detective who dozed off in court, lost control of a shotgun and, in the attempt to regain control, fatally shot senior State prosecutor Addelaid Ann Ferreira Watt (62) has pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide.

Following his plea in the Scottburgh Regional Court, Detective Warrant Officer Muzi Euchalystius Mkhize (57) was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years, with conditions.

In terms of the conditions, he must pay a fine of R20,000, must go to a shelter for abused women and children in Pietermaritzburg before or on 11 March. Also, he must not be convicted of a similar offence during the suspension period.

The incident happened in November 2019 when Watt was prosecuting a farm robbery matter in the uMzimkhulu Regional Court.

NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara explained that while the case was in process, the complainant in the matter asked that a firearm be given back to him as he feared for his life. However, the firearm was returned to court as an exhibit.

In his plea statement, Mkhize agreed that he failed to check whether the returned firearm was loaded or safe, as he erroneously believed that it was not working.

Mkhize said he dozed off and was startled when the court suddenly adjourned. This caused him to lose control of the shotgun and in an attempt to regain control of it a shot was discharged. Watt, who was sitting diagonally across from Mkhize, was struck on her left hip and subsequently died due to a loss of blood.

“Mkhize admitted in trying to regain control of the firearm, he unintentionally pressed the trigger or caused the firearm to discharge a round. Mkhize conceded in his plea that his conduct was negligent and advised that he never intended to shoot or injure Watt as they had shared a fruitful working relationship,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

Before accepting the guilty plea, the State, represented by senior advocate Naveen Sewparsat, consulted with the investigating officer and Watt’s daughter, and both parties agreed to the State accepting the plea.

In a Victim Impact Statement handed in to court, Watt’s daughter, Lindsay Ann Hawkins, described the sheer loss and devastation she felt after her mother died. DM

 

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted