Views From The News – 04/10/2011

Man guilty of butchering Masego for muti

Pretoria News

October 4 2011
Zelda Venter

 
 

There was high drama on Monday as one of Masego Kgomo’s muti murderers was convicted in the Pretoria High Court, with community members jeering the killer, and the little girl’s sobbing mother collapsing outside court.

A well-dressed Brian Mangwale stood with his head bowed as Judge Billy Mothle found him guilty of kidnapping the little girl before killing her so that her body parts could be sold for money.

The judge said Mangwale did not act alone, but with the aid of other people, killed the 10-year-old girl on the afternoon of December 31, 2009.

“Evidence suggested that Masego was still alive when her body parts were removed,” the judge said.

The court could not find that she was raped by Mangwale, but it did not exclude the possibility that she was raped by the other culprits involved in this “horrific killing but not brought before court”, he said.

Earlier during the trial the judge also questioned why Mangwale was the only accused before court, as it was clear that others were involved in killing her so they could sell her body parts for muti. The state at the time indicated that following this verdict, more arrests could follow.

After Mangwale’s conviction, Masego’s father, Joseph Kgomo, said he hoped more people would be brought to book. “I am relieved that at least one has now been convicted. Praise the Lord.”

The child’s mother, Kate Kgomo, was extremely emotional and tears streamed down her face. She was about to speak to the media when she collapsed outside court. She was assisted by the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana.

The minister, in thanking the prosecution and the judge, said it was a difficult time for Masego’s parents, especially as they had to listen to the evidence of how their child was brutally murdered. Xingwana said she hoped the other people involved in the killing would soon be brought to book.

Judge Mothle meanwhile labelled Mangwale a liar who tailored his evidence according to what his witnesses told the court.

Mangwale made confessions to the police and before magistrates – each one different – but in each statement he explained how he had kidnapped Masego after she went to buy him a cold drink.

In a statement before a magistrate, which was accepted by the court, Mangwale said he, with the help of others, ripped her body open while she was still alive, before tearing out her body parts, including her uterus.

He said he wrapped her organs in a plastic bag, which he hid in the bushes, while he helped her parents the community and the police in their week-long search for her. The organs were later sold to a sangoma.

A teenager who earlier took the stand behind closed doors, testified that he witnessed Masego being gang raped that night, but the judge could not make a finding as his evidence was lacking in many ways.

A post mortem report could also not make a finding on this, as her body was badly decomposed and she had hardly any organs left.

Mangwale claimed he was set up by the police, who assaulted him and took him to the spot where the child’s body was found, eight days after she disappeared.

But the police told the court that Mangwale, while claiming to take them to a place in Soshanguve where they would find the child, suddenly in the back of the car made noises as if he was possessed by spirits.

He then took them to a place near the railway station, where he pointed out a spot under thick bushes. When a policeman lifted a cover, he saw the skull of a child. Her body was naked from the waist down.

The version the court accepted, was that Magwale lured the child that afternoon after she bought him a cold drink and he handed her over to one of his co-conspirators.

He went home and helped in the search for her. When the search was called off that night, he sneaked out and joined his mates, who still had the child. They took her to bushes near the station where her organs were ripped out and she died.

Sentencing is expected on Tuesday.

 
 

Minister hails man’s conviction

Sowetan

04 Oct 2011

Pertunia Ratsatsi

MINISTER for Women, Children and People with Disability Lulu Xingwana yesterday said the conviction of a man accused of kidnapping and murdering 10-year-old Masego Kgomo is a victory for women.

“We are happy that the criminal who killed an innocent child was found guilty, but we are still not happy that his accomplices are still out there,” she said.

“We are appealing to the National Prosecuting Authority to follow up on them …”

Judge Billy Mothle said though there were inexplicable reasons why Brian Mangwale’s accomplices were not charged, he found him guilty of murder and kidnapping.

Mangwale and his accomplices had cut up Masego’s body and removed her tongue, breast and womb while she was still alive on December 31 2009.

 
 

Man killed in taxi rank shooting

Pretoria News– Sapa

October 4 2011

 
 

A man was shot dead and another was wounded at a taxi rank in Olievenhoutbosch, near Centurion on Tuesday morning, Gauteng police said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said the 35-year-old man and his friend were shot during a dispute between rival taxi operators.

“Some police where nearby when they heard the shots. The man was already dead when they got there,” she said.

The other man was taken to a nearby hospital. No arrests were made, and police were investigating.

 
 

Hawks take over murder case probe

The New Age

04 October 2011

Sithandiwe Velaphi

Police have handed over to the provincial organised crime unit, the Hawks, an investigation into the case of three men found dead in Ngqamakwe on Friday.

The Hawks are investigating a triple murder, after the gruesome discovery of three bodies near New Rest township in Mgcwe near Ngqamakhwe.

The bodies were found at about 9am after police were alerted by community members. Investigators found the bodies of three adult males, believed to be between 42 and 45 years of age. All had bullet wounds in their upper bodies.

Police say no cartridges were discovered at the scene and the circumstances and motive of the triple murder were unknown.

One of the first people to go to the scene on Friday morning is a 65-year-old woman who cannot be named. She said that as residents of a nearby village, kuWakeni, they were afraid all Thursday night after they heard about six loud gun shots.

“It was about 10pm on Thursday night. We could not sleep properly but we did not know that they were aimed at people,” said the woman.

Unconfirmed reports say police found two identity documents from the two of the men and that two of the deceased were from Mthatha.

Provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Celiwe Binta encouraged community members to provide any information which might assist police in arresting suspects. “Due to the seriousness of this case, the investigation will be handed over to the Hawks,” she said.

 
 

More police officers finding themselves on wrong side of law

The New Age

04 October 2011

Abram Mashego

Top police in the country have been implicated or charged with fraud, corruption and other crimes.

The highest ranking cop to be charged and convicted for fraud and corruption was former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

He was given a 15 year-jail sentence him pending his appeal.

Selebi’s successor, Gen Bheki Cele, has been implicated in multimillion rand police building lease irregularities, which has caused a political furore in the country.

It is not only the highest ranking officials who have been accused and tried for criminal activities. Reports of members of the SAPS in the lowest ranks being involved in various crimes have also made headlines.

Though not charged yet, two crime intelligence officers have been sent for a lie detector test following last Friday’s robbery in which R2m was taken from the boot of the car they drove in to withdraw the large amount from a bank in Johannesburg.

The two officers are attached to the specialised unit dealing with crime intelligence.

Richard Mdluli, crime intelligence boss, has been suspended from his duties and has been charged with intimidation, three counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. He is also facing charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

Former Mpumalanga head of the directorate of special investigations, the Hawks, Obed Ngwenya is also facing theft charges. He stands accused of stealing R1800 during the arrest of a suspected ATM bomber.

KwaZulu-Natal top cop, Navin Madhoe, is also facing charges of corruption alongside a Durban businessman. Madhoe was arrested shortly after allegedly putting R1.3m in bribe money in the boot of a senior Hawks official’s car in exchange for a document containing sensitive information related to an investigation.

Tshwane metro police deputy chief, Ndumiso Jaca, has been accused of driving a vehicle with a false registration number. But he will not be facing charges despite his contravention of the law.

Former Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride faced charges of driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance, fraud and defeating the ends of justice, and was convicted.

Magistrate Peet Johnson sentenced McBride to two years for driving under the influence of alcohol and five years for defeating the ends of justice, of which two years were suspended for five years.

McBride has said he would appeal the verdict.

 Cape Town judges recuse themselves

The Times

04 October, 2011

Philani Nombembe

All judges in the Cape Town High Court have recused themselves from hearing the case of Thandi Maqubela, the woman accused of murdering her judge husband.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe revealed this during Maqubela’s final pre-trial conference yesterday.

The case has been handed to Pretoria High Court Judge John Murphy, who will preside over the trial in Cape Town’s labour court.

Maqubela, who was married to Cape Town High Court acting judge Patrick Maqubela, has been charged – alongside Vela Mabhena, a former pastor – with murder. She is also charged with forging her husband’s signature on a will, making her the main beneficiary of his estate.

Maqubela’s lawyer, Marius Broeksma, told the court he would launch a formal application for a postponement of the case when it resumed on October 10. He asked that Maqubela’s bail conditions be relaxed to allow him time to consult with her.

But Hlophe said all judges in the court – including himself – had recused themselves from “pronouncing on any decision” regarding the case because they had all known Judge Maqubela.

Four witnesses in the case are judges. Their names have not yet been revealed.

The prosecutor, advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo, said the state would oppose Maqubela’s application for a further postponement. Currie-Gamwo said they had made arrangements for witnesses to travel to Cape Town for the trial.

 
 

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