Dewani appeal no surprise, says NPA
The New Age
05 October 2011
The National Prosecuting Authority is still waiting to hear the grounds for Shrien Dewani’s appeal against a British government decision to extradite him to South Africa to stand trial for the murder of his wife.
But they were not surprised that Dewani had lodged an appeal, NPA national spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga, said yesterday.
“It is Shrien Dewani’s right to appeal. We are just waiting to find out on which grounds he is appealing,” Mhaga said.
Home Secretary Theresa May signed the extradition order on September 26, and Dewani had 14 days to appeal against the decision. His defence team lodged the appeal two days later.
Dewani is accused of masterminding the murder of his new bride, Anni, who was shot dead after a hijacking in Cape Town in November.
Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 26, and Xolile Mngeni, 23, have also been charged in connection with the murder.
Their case has been transferred to the Cape Town High Court for a pre-trial conference on 10 February 10.
Cape Town advocate William Booth, who has been involved in several criminal cases involving British courts, said yesterday he believed Dewani would cite fears that he would not get a fair trial in SA and that he was scared about coming to a SA prison as possible reasons for his appeal.
But the SA authorities had already assured Dewani’s legal team during his extradition hearing in Britain that Dewani would be treated well, Booth said.
Muti killer trial postponed again
04 October 2011
Ilse De Lange
JOHANNESBURG – The trial of muti murderer Brian Mangwale has been postponed for a pre-sentencing report by a social worker.
Judge Billy Mothle said that although the case had been postponed several times and the family of murdered schoolgirl Masego Kgomo wanted closure, the accused had a right to lead evidence in mitigation.
Mangwale, 29, was convicted on Monday on charges of kidnapping and murdering 10-year-old Masego in Soshanguve on December 31, 2009. The young schoolgirl disappeared without a trace after being last seen with Mangwale, who lived near her parents’ home.
Mangwale, who helped the community and police to search for his victim, pointed out the child’s body to police in dense bushes behind the Soshanguve rail station eight days after her disappearance.
He made several confessions about the murder, claiming in some that he had stabbed the child to death and removed her womb and breast, but in others blaming a traditional healer for the gruesome murder.
Mothle found that Mangwale had kidnapped Kgomo after conspiring with others to sell her body parts for muti. He had handed the child over to his co-conspirators, gone to bed, and then helped to search for the missing girl. In the early hours, he had slipped out of his shack to help the others kill and mutilate her before dumping her body.
The judge said indications were that Masego may still have been alive when her body parts were removed and that this may have caused her death.
Masego’s father Joseph said he realised he had to be patient to wait for the outcome of the trial, and that he would be back in court when the trial resumed next month because he wanted to see Mangwale go to jail for a very long time.
He said he and his wife were not really coping, but did their best.
Soshanguve community leader Pote Sewela said they respected the decision of the judge but were dissatisfied about the fact that the other perpetrators had not been arrested.
‘Charge reckless drivers’
04 October 2011
JOHANNESBURG – Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele yesterday said that his department was working together with the police and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to ensure that reckless drivers are now charged with murder.
This follows the spate of road accidents that have claimed the lives of many people.
The latest being on Monday when a truck veered into oncoming traffic, hitting a bus carrying eight Phumula Gardens Primary School teachers, two school governing body members and 42 pupils.
The truck driver who allegedly plunged into the bus carrying the schoolchildren was not suppose to be driving the truck at the time of the accident.
Five pupils and four teachers were killed in that accident outside Harrismith in the Free State.
Ndebele said he had instructed officials to leave no stone unturned in their investigation into Monday’s carnage.
“We are engaging with various departments to ensure that in cases where drivers intentionally violate road traffic rules, and drive in a reckless manner resulting in death, those drivers should be charged with murder,” said Ndebele
Police confirmed that the driver of the truck was not in possession of a professional driving permit and was not supposed to be driving the vehicle.
The Gauteng department of education spokesman Charles Phahlane said they had set up a crisis centre at Phumula Primary where members of the family of the deceased and injured were coming in for information.
Top cop on special leave
The New Age
05 October 2011
The City of Tshwane’s Metro Police deputy chief Ndumiso Jaca has been suspended.
On Tuesday mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa announced that Jaca had been placed on special leave with immediate effect while the municipality investigated charges against him.
“Based on the strength of what is before us we have a duty to protect public resources, we have a duty to protect the integrity of the City of Tshwane. Based on that we took a decision to place Jaca on special leave.
“We are authorising the city manager to conduct an investigation. The process must not be open-ended and must be concluded in three months,” the mayor said.
Ramokgopa said Tswhane Metro was also aware that there was a speeding fine by Metro Police in Johannesburg issued in 2009. He also said there might be a warrant for Jaca’s arrest regarding the matter.
On Monday night Joburg Metro Police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane told SABC TV news that the JMPD had been looking for the driver or owner of a BMW Z4 which was caught speeding on camera. She said in the news that JMPD will be following up the case with Jaca seeing that the BMW was linked to him.
However, the JMPD was not forthright on the arrest warrant for Jaca yesterday. Another spokesperson superintendent Wayne Minnaar said: “The issue of issuing traffic fines is a matter between the police and the private individual until the person had appeared in court.”
Ramokgopa also said that the municipality would continue conducting interviews for the chief of Metro Police and if Jaca was shortlisted the investigation would count against him.
On why he delayed talking about Jaca’s case, Ramakgopa said after he received a report from the city manager, Jason Ngobeni, he could not release it because he wanted to clear some issues.
One of the key charges was Jaca’s use of one vehicle registration, BALTY GP, for a car and a motorcycle, which was illegal.
Ngobeni said that the case against Jaca would not be as easy as it would have been if it was just an internal matter. “As more information comes forward, we have to validate all the photos, and we do not have the powers to subpoena people if they do not want to testify,” Ngobeni said.
He added that there was no sign of resistance when he informed Jaca that he was being placed on special leave. Jaca did not answer his cellphone when TNA called late yesterday.
Cop vs cop in a bungle over probe
October 5 2011
IT WAS cops versus cops when Joburg police arrested four commercial crime unit (CCU) colleagues in the Joburg city centre – and the CCU officers laid a counter-charge against them for the obstruction of justice.
Unsurprisingly, the case is still unresolved.
It all started when members of the CCU raided a shop in the Joburg city centre that they suspected was storing R10 million worth of stolen electronic goods. A short while later, other police officers came in and arrested them.
The four men from the CCU were held for 10 hours at Joburg Central police station before being charged with intimidation and trespassing.
They were released, but their firearms were confiscated.
They then laid a counter-charge against their arresting officers for the obstruction of justice.
The only people who have apparently been let off the hook are the suspects who own the electronic goods store in Jeppe Street.
The attorney representing the four CCU policemen, Mohammed Ismail, from Saleem Ebrahim Attorneys, said the officers had not appeared in court.
Ismail said it had to be asked whether corruption and pay-offs were involved.
The four police officers were investigating Bangladeshi shop owners after a container filled with LCD TV sets was stolen on its way from Durban.
They believed they had traced the goods to the shop and chose Saturday, at about 4pm, to go and have a look.
Ismail said the officers first went to the owner and asked him to come to their office so that they could organise to go with him into his store. After two days of waiting, three of them went into the store and found two large storerooms at the back filled with electronic goods.
The wife of the owner was there with employees, and she opened for the officers.
“My client says the storeroom was full. Behind cardboard boxes was a whole wall filled with LCD TVs,” said Ismail. They called another member to bring a camera so that they could start cataloguing the equipment.
The suspect gave them documentation as proof of ownership, but Ismail said his clients believed the documents were fraudulent.
Just as the camera was delivered, police officers from Joburg central arrived and arrested the officers.
“A Colonel Lumbatha arrived, speaking on a cellphone to a general who she said had ordered their arrest. She had been off duty but the ‘general’ had called and told her to arrest the officers,” Ismail said.
“Later she changed her story and said someone called Prince from Luthuli House (ANC headquarters) had ordered the arrest.”
The CCU officers tried to explain they were police officers working on a case, but the colonel wouldn’t listen, and she took the documents and handed them back to the suspect.
The four men were kept at the police station until 2am, when they were charged and told they were free to go – without their firearms.
One of the officers asked Ismail:
“Is this a cover-up? Or was an impersonator calling the colonel ordering the arrest? The whole procedure was unlawful.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that an arrest was made. He said a police officer from the CCU, a reservist and two civilians were taken for questioning after “the sector members from Johannesburg Central received a complaint of an alleged robbery”.
“After questioning them it was established that they were busy with an investigation and later released, although three firearms were taken from them.”
He confirmed a case of intimidation and trespassing was being investigated as well as the counter-charges against the arresting officers. He said the charges were laid because the shop owners had laid a complaint against the four men.
“Once the investigation has been finalised, the cases will be discussed with a prosecutor for a decision. Officers did not receive any instructions from the provincial commissioner but were attending to a complaint.”
Cop fined for stealing from detained drunk
05 October 2011
A policeman was fined R10 000 in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town on Tuesday for stealing from a suspected drunk driver.
Anglio Pietersen, 39, was given the fine or a year in jail. He was sentenced for another two years in prison, suspended for five years.
Magistrate Amrith Chabilall said Pietersen should consider himself lucky he was not convicted of corruption.
Pietersen, 39, based in Paarl, faced charges of corruption, theft and fraud, but was only found guilty of theft.
He arrested a man for drunk driving in July last year, discovered he had a suspended sentence for the same offence, and that the suspension period had not expired.
Pietersen told the man he could make the docket disappear for money.
He was paid R450, and then asked for the man’s credit card and pin number, but never destroyed the docket.
When the driver was released from custody the next morning, he discovered that R1 000 had been taken from his account.
Chabilall said the fact that Pietersen had stolen from a man in custody over whom he had authority, made the theft much worse.
“Your conduct gives the entire police service a bad name, and the bad reputation is thoroughly deserved if the police employ people like you.
“The police service is no place for dishonest people.”
Chabilall said the drunk driving charge against the driver was still pending, which had saved Pietersen from a jail sentence.
“Had the drunk driving charge been frustrated by the disappearance of the docket, you would be going to prison today,” Chabilall told him.
Cape cops seize perlemoen worth R1m
05 October 2011
A man has been arrested in Strand, near Cape Town, for possession of perlemoen, police said on Tuesday.
“The suspect was found in possession of 37 plastic bags filled with… 7 335 units of abalone [perlemoen]… with an estimated street value of R1m,” Captain Frederick van Wyk said in statement.
The 55-year-old man was arrested on Monday when police received a tip-off about a suspicious vehicle.
Police spotted the vehicle at Sir Lowry’s Pass.
The perlemoen was found after a search and was handed to members of the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
The man would appear soon in the Somerset West Magistrate’s Court, Van Wyk said.
Taverner’s son on murder charge
The New Age
05 October 2011
The son of a successful tavern owner in Nyanga appeared in court on Tuesday on a charge of murder after allegedly killing his neighbour after the two got into an argument over a parking space on Sunday morning.
Xabisa Kente, 21, appeared briefly in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court yesterday on a charge of murdering Bulumko Khulumani, 37. Magistrate Keith le Keur postponed the case to allow Kente to consult with his defence.
The state has indicated it will oppose bail for Kente.
Kente is the son of Obed Zilwa, who runs Dinangwe, a successful tavern in Nyanga.
It is alleged that the deceased got into an argument with patrons of the tavern who had parked in front of his house when he arrived home from church.
Provincial police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk confirmed that “a murder case has been opened for investigation” and added that the “suspect handed himself over”.
Van Wyk said the deceased and the accused were allegedly “arguing over parking space”.
The deceased’s father, George Khulumani, said the incident had left the Nyanga community devastated to the extent that on Monday residents staged a protest outside the accused’s house and trashed tables and broke windows.
Khulumani said his son was coming from a church service on Sunday when two cars were parked in front of his home. Bulumko confronted the owners of the cars, who were busy drinking at Dinangwe shebeen.
“An argument broke and my son was hit with an empty beer bottle,” Khulumani said. “Bulumko withdrew a firearm and shot once in the air.
“Within minutes, the accused came and shot him twice and he died at the scene.
“We are very sad about what happened.”
Khulumani said it would be in Kente’s best interest to abandon his bail application next week as members of the community might take the law into their own hands.
A community member, who refused to give her name fearing intimidation, said: “If he (Kente) is granted bail he will have to move away from here because we are angry and might do anything to him.” – WCNof passengers on the road which is essential for the city,” said Herron. – WCN