Views from the News 1: 16 February 2012

Views from the News
Court hears battle for Zuma records

Sowetan – Sapa

16 Feb 2012

THE Supreme Court of Appeal has been asked to follow a broad approach to give the DA legal standing to get records from the National Prosecuting Authority.

Sean Rosenberg, for the DA, was arguing an appeal application yesterday for records that led to corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, pictured, being dropped in 2009.

The high court held previously that the DA had not shown that its rights, that of its members, or the broader public’s, had been adversely affected by the NPA’s decision not to prosecute Zuma.

The DA further called on the NPA to produce the record of proceedings on its decision.

Rosenberg denied the DA was acting in a "perceived" public interest, as claimed by the NPA. Rosenberg submitted the party could act in its own, and the public’s interest.

He argued there was no other way in taking a decision such as then acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe’s on review but through the courts.

Rosenberg said the DA wanted the "reduced record" on which its decision to drop the case against Zuma was based. The NPA could not withhold this just because other documents were confidential.

Paul Kennedy, for the acting director of public prosecutions, said the NPA had a right to question the DA’s standing in the matter.

The judges wanted to know why the NPA had acted in the "peculiar way" of raising other issues not pertaining to the records sought.

Kennedy submitted the Zuma records were a highly unusual case involving "controversial information", which justified the NPA’s questioning the DA’s right to access.

He said confidential information formed a fundamental part of the record sought by the DA.

Kennedy submitted the DA was not directly affected by the decision not to continue with Zuma’s prosecution. This included its members and any member of the public.

The matter continues.

Judges losing patience in DA court challenge

The main issue in the case — whether the NPA’s decision to drop the charges against President Jacob Zuma is rational and constitutional — must still go back to the high court for decision

Business Day

16 February 2012

Franny Rabkin

THE "piecemeal" progress of the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) court challenge to the decision to drop corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma appeared to irk some of the judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday.

Yesterday’s hearing, before five Supreme Court of Appeal judges, was only about preliminary issues: whether the DA had legal standing to bring the case in the first place and whether it should be given the "record" of the decision — the documents upon which acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, based his decision in 2009.

The main issue in the case — whether Mr Mphshe’s decision to drop the charges against Mr Zuma was rational and constitutional — must still go back to the high court for decision.

Yesterday Judge Mahomed Navsa said that this piecemeal approach to review applications was not "salutary".

Mr Mpshe’s counsel, Paul Kennedy SC, explained that when the DA had initially asked for the record, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was faced with a "dilemma" because the "crux" of the record consisted of confidential representations that Mr Zuma had made to Mr Mpshe in the run-up to the decision.

But Judge Navsa suggested if Mr Zuma’s representations had been confidential, the NPA could simply have handed over any other documents to the DA.

Even if these were "meaningless", it would not have harmed the NPA’s position, he said.

Acting Judge Clive Plasket added that he had never heard of a case where the lack of legal standing had been raised as a defence to a request for a record. Mr Kennedy replied that while there might never have been such a case, it did not preclude the NPA from raising the defence.

Mr Kennedy said the NPA had wanted to "nip it in the bud".

If the court had found the DA did have standing to review the decision, it would open the "floodgates" for anyone to come to court when they were dissatisfied with a prosecutorial decision, even if it did not directly affect them.

The issue was also raised with counsel for the DA, Sean Rosenberg SC. He had argued that in order for a political party to take a case to court in the public interest, it had to be "genuinely" acting in the public interest. This was a factual inquiry, said Mr Rosenberg.

But Judge Navsa said this was why dealing with the standing issue at a preliminary stage was problematic — because, at this stage, not all the facts were before the court.

All the court had to go on was what the DA had alleged in its founding affidavit. Unless that was completely "fatuous", the issue of standing was a fight to be had at a later stage, he suggested.

Mr Zuma’s counsel Kemp J Kemp SC argued the DA did not act in the public interest but for its own political ends. "Are you suggesting the DA brought this application in bad faith?" asked Judge Plasket.

"Yes," responded Mr Kemp. But he conceded these arguments might be better made when the main case was argued.

Mr Kemp asked the court to "qualify" the order sought by the DA on the record — to exclude from what would be handed over not just Mr Zuma’s written submissions, but also any record of his oral submissions. He also wanted Mr Zuma’s team to be able to look at the record before it was sent to the DA.

Judgment was reserved.

Hawks’ KZN boss faces suspension

The Times

16 February, 2012

Canaan Mdletshe and Nivashni Nair

KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen is facing suspension and his unit, Durban’s so-called police hit squad, has been shut down.

But the developments in the investigation that led to his pending suspension will not be made public.

Hawks national spokesman McIntosh Polela yesterday confirmed that Booysen had been served with notice of intent to suspend him and that he had been given five days to respond to "certain allegations".

Polela refused to elaborate on the allegations and said the Hawks did not plan to go public with Booysen’s response.

"It is true that there are new developments but we would not like to elaborate on this because we would like to give General Booysen the dignity and respect to involve himself in an internal process," Polela said.

"Only after this process has been exhausted would we be at liberty to comment about it. This is an internal process."

Polela confirmed that Hawks head Anwa Dramat had permanently disbanded Booysen’s Cato Manor unit and that its 24 officers would be transferred to the head office in Durban.

The KwaZulu-Natal head of crime intelligence, Major-General Deena Moodley, has also been served with a notice of intent to suspend him on an allegation unrelated to the Cato Manor unit.

Booysen and the unit have been under investigation since December when reports of a police death squad surfaced.

The Sunday Times reported allegations that, under Booysen’s command, the unit had committed scores of assassinations, some in retaliation for suspected cop killings and others related to taxi wars.

It reported that Colonel Navin Madhoe – an officer in the provincial procurement office charged with trying to bribe Booysen with R2-million to drop a R60-million corruption case – had given the Hawks boss a memory stick, a hard drive and two CDs containing hundreds of photographs showing what appear to be gruesome killings of suspects by the police.

The images include several of post-killing celebrations by members of the Cato Manor unit.

In an affidavit, Madhoe said Booysen asked him to acquire the CDs as they contained "incriminating evidence of serious crimes in a unit under his direct command".

Independent Complaints Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini yesterday confirmed that the investigation of the Cato Manor unit was continuing.

"Once we have concluded the investigation we will hold a media briefing to reveal the outcome . The time frame will be dictated by what we uncover during the investigation," he said.

Judges opposed to spouse, children disclosure

Senior judges opposed to the disclosure of the financial interests of their family members, especially their spouses and children

Business Day

16 February 2012

Ernest Mabuza

SENIOR judges and leaders in the judiciary said yesterday they were never against calls for judges to disclose their financial and other interests, but remained opposed to the disclosure of the financial interests of their family members, especially their spouses and children.

The heads of court, who are some of the country’s most senior judges, were responding to media reports in which several lawyers’ associations and other interested parties in the legal and academic fraternity have voiced support for calls on judges to disclose their financial interests.

While MPs’ financial interests are open to the public, the heads of court want the information on their financial interests to be confidential. The heads of court comprise of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng; the president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Lex Mpati, and his deputy, Kenneth Mthiyane; and the judges president of the high courts and specialist courts.

Following a number of comments by legal bodies stemming from oral submissions by a delegation of judges to the parliamentary ad hoc joint committee on the code of judicial conduct on disclosure of interests last month, the heads of court said they felt it was necessary to set the record straight.

They said at the end of a consultative meeting in Cape Town last Friday that they had never been opposed to calls for disclosure, subject to the issue of confidentiality, on which they hoped to have further discussions with the relevant authority.

They said their main and unequivocal opposition was to the current provisions’ call for disclosure of the financial interests of judges’ family members. "Quite frankly, we do not see what public interest would be served by the disclosure of spouses’, partners’ and children’s financial interests as the provisions currently call for. We vehemently oppose wholesale disclosures in so far as our spouses, partners and children are concerned.

"However, we welcome wholeheartedly, as we have always done, calls for judges to register their financial and other registrable interests, especially in so far as it would help prevent any possible corruption or perception thereof," the heads of court said.

The judges said they would also welcome any investigation of any retired or sitting judges and their family members suspected of any improper or other misconduct that could bring the judiciary into disrepute.

Last week, the Black Lawyers Association said as custodians of the interpretation and application of the constitution, which was unequivocal on issues of transparency and accountability by all arms of government, the judiciary had a duty to lead on transparency.

Earlier this month, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) were in support of the principle of disclosure by judges. Nadel said it accepted that it was arguable that disclosure of the financial and business interests of a judge’s family members infringed their right to privacy. However, it said that right was not absolute. Nadel said the obligation on the judge and his or her family to disclose was in the national democratic interest and should be supported.

Henning hit: cellphone trail wiped

Pretoria News

16 February 2012

Patrick Hlahla

The Pretoria Magistrate’s Court has heard that cellphone calls between André Gouws and Chanelle Henning’s estranged husband, Nico – made before her death – were deleted from Gouws’s handset.

Records of calls between former Nigerian Olympian Ambrose Monye, one of the murder accused, were also deleted from Gouws’s handset.

Cellphone analyst Captain Francois Moller, who is attached to the Hawks, told magistrate Kieran Pillay Gouws had sent two SMSes to Henning’s husband; one in the morning and one in the afternoon on November 8 – but both were deleted.

The court heard the cellphone of Henning’s husband was stolen on the day Chanelle was murdered. But he had another number Gouws was unable to access because Henning had not done a SIM swop.

Moller said there was constant communication between Gouws, Monye, Gerhardus du Plessis and Willem Pieterse before the hit on Chanelle Henning on November 8.

She was shot dead by two men on a motorbike after dropping off her child at a Faerie Glen nursery school. Du Plessis and Pieterse have pleaded guilty to the murder and are each serving 18 years.

Moller testified that 81 calls had been made between Gouws and Monye and 19 SMSes sent between them, before and after the murder.

There were also 31 calls between Pieterse and Du Plessis and 17 calls between Pieterse and Monye after the murder. Gouws tried to make a call to Pieterse – who was referred to as “Tattoo” – on November 4, but was unsuccessful, Moller testified.

He said Gouws’s calls were transmitted from the Cabana Glen cellphone tower in the Faerie Glen area.

A Bantam bakkie, believed to belong to Gouws, was spotted on CCTV cameras not far from Chanelle Henning’s Faerie Glen home days before she was killed.

Moller said he took photographs of the bakkie after it was seized by police, together with a BMW motorbike allegedly used in the hit, to ensure it was the same vehicle as the one on the CCTV cameras.

The vehicle had the same marks as that captured on the surveillance cameras, he said.

“The bakkie was captured on surveillance cameras between 2.45pm and 2.47pm in the vicinity of Nevada Crescent and Manitoba Drive on November 4,” said Moller.

Moller also told the court that the police analysed bank accounts and some transactions of Gouws.

A total of R30 000 was paid by Gouws Joubert Makelaars into one of Gouws’s accounts, R10 000 was paid to Monye from one of Gouws’s accounts, but it was not clear what the amount was for. A phone call was made to Monye after the funds had been withdrawn, he said.

A cash withdrawal of R44 000 was made on the day of the murder in Centurion, he added.

Earlier, investigating officer Petrus van der Spuy told the court that Gouws had indicated that he was good friends with Nico Henning, but Nico had denied this, saying there was not “much interactive communication” between them.

SABC appoints financial boss amid graft probe

A new chief financial officer for the SABC has been appointed, a day after chairman Ben Ngubane said alleged spending of more than R500000 on a private shuttle service for executives would be probed

Business Day

16 February 2012

Trevor Neethling

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Dina Pule yesterday announced the appointment of a new chief financial officer for the SABC, a day after chairman Ben Ngubane said alleged spending of more than R500000 on a private shuttle service for executives would be probed.

The troubled broadcaster had been without an acting chief financial officer since Robin Nicholson’s contract was not renewed at the end of June last year, one of three top posts that had been vacant for almost a year.

Ms Pule announced the appointment of Gugu Duda as the new chief financial officer. Ms Duda’s five-year contract, which runs from March 1, follows the appointment of CEO Lulama Mokhobo last month.

"Ms Duda has the relevant qualifications, skills, capabilities and experience required for the position," Ms Pule said. "She has extensive executive, financial and strategic leadership experience. A chartered accountant by training, Ms Duda was previously chief financial officer for internet and telephone banking at First National Bank."

According to the department, Ms Duda’s previous experience includes stints at Wipcapital and AngloGold Ashanti , where she was vice-president for strategy and risk integration for Africa.

Reports on Tuesday quoted Dr Ngubane saying he wanted a team to investigate whether money spent on a shuttle service for executives was excessive.

Kate Skinner, co-ordinator of SABC watchdog Save Public Broadcasting, said it was important that the top positions be filled as soon as possible. "We believe it’s important that the top three posts are filled and that the progress means it’s moving in a positive direction."

‘Crooked’ policemen in court

Sowetan

16 Feb 2012

Mogomotsi Selebi

THE four police officers arrested last month on extortion charges appeared briefly in the Kempton Park Regional Court yesterday.

Sergeant Hector Mekwa, constables Khulani Maluleka, Buffalo Loeto and William Mahoro’s case was postponed to February 27 for further investigation.

The four were arrested on January 12 after a Ghanaian national laid a charge of extortion against them.

It is alleged that the four police officers stopped the tourist after he had gone through customs at OR Tambo International Airport on New Year’s Day. They allegedly demanded that the Ghanaian "produce an invitation letter into the country", but he told them he did not need one as he had been issued with a visa.

The four then allegedly threatened him with deportation if he did not give them $100 (about R800). He told them he did not have it. He gave them $50 (about R400) and they let him go.

He opened a case at the airport and a police investigation led to the arrest of the four officers.

Cop’s gun used in robbery, court told

Sowetan

16 Feb 2012

Olebogeng Molatlhwa

A POLICE service pistol may have been used by suspected robbers in a shootout that claimed the life of a long-serving police officer near a Johannesburg primary school in June last year.

Giving evidence yesterday before acting Judge Naren Pandya in the Johannesburg High Court, Constable Daniel Riddell testified that a gun found at a Northcliff house, and suspected to have been used by an assailant, looked to have had a SAPS badge "filed off" from it.

Riddell was testifying for the state against Happy Mokorongo, Mountain Msezane and Joseph Mogashoa. They are charged with two counts of murder, five of attempted murder, four of unlawful possession of firearm and two counts of unlawful possession of ammunition.

Cop hijacked: suspect sought

The Star

February 16 2012

Shain Germaner

THE Police are still looking for Sizwe Zwane, the son of a prominent Soweto businessman, in connection with the hijacking and shooting of a senior Soweto police officer.

He apparently vanished from his home on Sunday after police discovered a vehicle used in the crime outside his Diepkloof home.

One of the alleged hijackers, Jeffrey Ndlovu, appeared in court this week.

The officer, who cannot be named, had been travelling home late on Saturday night in his BMW.

At the Nasrec road turnoff, a Corsa bakkie pulled up next to him. Two men jumped out and told the officer to get out of his car.

He obeyed, but one of the men shot him in a thigh be- fore fleeing with his car, cellphone, wallet and service firearm.

The wound left the policeman critically injured, but he managed to stumble a few kilometres to a garage, where he received help.

Despite two medical procedures, he remains in the intensive care unit at Netcare Milpark Hospital.

On Sunday morning, when the police recovered the officer’s BMW, Ndlovu was arrested along with an unidentified woman who was allegedly in possession of some of the property stolen from the policeman.

Ndlovu led police officers to Sizwe’s home, Buhle Bemfundo Day Care, a Diepkloof crèche that used to be well-known tavern, known as Sochilas.

The vehicle allegedly used in the crime was found outside.

An eyewitness said that when police approached the daycare centre and confronted the owner’s wife, the woman began screaming for help, even falling to the floor and rolling around.

“It looked like she was signalling her son that something was wrong, which was when he jumped over the fence,” said the witness.

Police have linked another stolen vehicle, also a BMW, to the alleged hijackers.

Unarmed teenager shot 7 times by cop

Sowetan

16 Feb 2012

Katlego Moeng

A teenage boy shot at point-blank range by police in Soweto has left his family reeling in shock.

Thato Mokoka, 16, was pinned to the ground by an officer when he was shot in the head by another policeman at his home in Braamfischerville. The shooting happened just before midnight on Monday.

"I saw his brains splash out," said Thato’s grandmother Sybil Mokoka.

Police stormed into a shack where Thato was sleeping after they could not find him in the main house.

The six officers were searching for a gun allegedly being used by a gang terrorising the community. Thato was suspected to be a member of the gang.

Mokoka said she was woken up at about 11pm by loud knocking on her door. It was the police.

"But by time I opened I was confronted with a rifle to my face and a hail of insults and threats," she said.

"The officers said I had an attitude by taking my time to open the door. They threatened to beat me up."

Mokoka was with her daughter and her 10-month-old grandchild.

"They then went to the shack. They dragged him [Thato] out while assaulting him. One officer pinned him down with his boot pressed against his neck.

"Thato looked at me from the side and kept saying ‘mama, I have done nothing. Father (referring to the policeman), I have done nothing’ as other officers searched his room," she said.

Then another officer came from behind her with a rifle.

"He shot him several times at point-blank range. I could not believe it," said Mokoka, who raised Thato as a son.

Thato’s mother Beverly Mokoka lives in a nearby house. She was too devastated to speak yesterday.

Jabulani police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela confirmed the incident.

"Police were following on a tip about a group of boys with a gun terrorising school children during the day.

"They did not find the gun. They were supposed to go around searching for members of the gang but before they collected them all, this incident happened.

"A case of murder has been referred to the Independent Complaints Directorate for investigation. We do not know what led to the shooting. He was shot five times," Makhubela said.

Thato’s uncle Jutas Mokoka was at the mortuary yesterday.

"He was shot three times in the head and four in the back. It was horrible," he said.

Mokoka said the only problem she had with Thato was his smoking habit and obsession with girls.

"Otherwise he was a good-natured boy who always smiled. He loved children.

"I always heard about this sort of thing happening and thought people exaggerated. Now it has happened before my eyes.

"I have lost faith in the police. It is clear from their attitude and conduct from the minute they knocked on the door they had murderous intentions," Mokoka said.

Police launch manhunt for wanted ‘criminal’

Sowetan

16 Feb 2012

Riot Hlatshwayo

Wanted for ATM bombings, armed robberies and rape

MPUMALANGA police have circulated pictures of one of the province’s most wanted "criminals" who has been on the run since escaping from a the Skukuza police station in the Kruger National Park on November 6 last year.

Douglas Mokgakane, 25, allegedly committed many crimes, including ATM bombings, armed robberies and rape while on the run.

He had been arrested with four others in Graskop on August 5 last year.

Mokgakane, Joel Nghilichi Ndlovu, 29, David Paku, 21, Sandile Matsane and Reuben Mathebula (both in their early 20s) were arrested after they were found in possession of two suspected stolen cars, unlicensed firearms, ammunition, cellphone vouchers, suspected stolen bank cards and many other illegal goods.

They had always been under heavy police guard when they appeared in courts around the Bushbuckridge area.

Mokgakane, Paku, Ndlovu and 19-year-old Lino Baloyi, who were arrested for trespassing in the Kruger National Park, escaped from the Skukuza police station in the early hours of Sunday on November 6 last year.

Nobody believed the escaped men would survive the wild animals but police later re-arrested Paku in Mahushu near Hazyview. He took them to Ndlovu’s hiding place in Acornhoek, where he was also rearrested. Mokgakane again managed to evade being rearrested.

Police said Mokgakane found new buddies in crime and they were engaged in a crime spree that has left the Bushbuckridge community in fear over the past few weeks.

Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Hlathi said it was believed that Mokgakane and two of his new accomplices held a security guard at gunpoint, tied and forced him to knock at his employer’s house in green Valley in Acornhoek near Bushbuckridge on February 6.

"On entering the house the suspects gang-raped the 40-year-old businesswoman and her 21-year-old daughter," Hlathi said yesterday.

"They then robbed them of cash, cigarettes and airtime vouchers before fleeing the scene in the victim’s Toyota Fortuner.

The vehicle was later found abandoned in Thulamahashe about 35km away."

Paku, Matsane, Mathebula and Ndlovu are expected to to appear before the Mhala magistrate’s court on March 21.

Hlathi said anyone with information that might lead to the arrest of Mokgakane and his accomplices must contact Warrant Officer Solly Modiba on 084-810-0893 or 013-795-8012 or Captain John Maredi on 082-462-1861.

No leads in Soweto mutilation case

The Star

16 February 2012
Ali Mphaki

The police are yet to make an arrest for the abduction and slicing off of the genitals of an 11-year-old Soweto boy who is still in hospital almost two months after his near-death experience.

Investigating officer Captain Happy Vilankulu once more made an impassioned appeal, especially to Doornkop residents, who may have witnessed the boy’s abduction on December 22 to come forward with any information.

The boy, who may not be named as he is a minor, was kidnapped a few metres from his home, apparently by two men in a car.

His genitals and left ear were sliced off and he was left for dead in the veld. He managed to crawl to the Midway railway station, where he was spotted by a security guard.

The boy’s father said that although his son’s condition had improved, the family had sleepless nights thinking about who was responsible for the ghastly deed and why they had targeted his child.

“It is going on for two months now and no one has come forward with any information. Surely somebody, somewhere knows who is responsible, and we urge them to please contact the police.”

The boy, he added, was hit with an iron rod after preventing his younger sister from responding to an invitation from the occupants of a car parked near their home.

The unconscious child was bundled into the vehicle, which sped off. The abductors had used the children’s names, which suggested they knew the family.

The father said the boy was worrying about when he would be discharged so that he could go back to school.

“We always tell him to be patient and to wait until further instructions from the doctors.”

He said doctors had been able to plug the hole in his boy’s ear and were trying to find him a new ear.

His son used a pipe inserted in his abdomen to urinate.

Phone Captain Happy Vilankulu on 082 719 8373 with any information

No arrests in Soweto teen murder

Pretoria News

16 February 2012
SAPA

No one has been arrested for the killing of a Soweto teenager, apparently by a student policeman, the Independent Complaints Directorate said on Thursday.

Spokesman Moses Dlamini said the investigation was still in its early stages.

“A police student constable was guarding the victim, but no one saw exactly what happened. We are busy taking statements.”

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said a murder case had been opened.

“We have handed the matter over to the Independent Complaints Directorate.”

Thato Mokoka, 16, was shot five times, apparently at point blank range while he was lying down. Dobsonville police had raided the boy’s home after neighbours told them he had an unlicensed gun.

The Star reported on Thursday that Mokoka was lying on his stomach with his hands above his head when the policeman fired. He was killed outside the home of his grandmother, Sybil Mokoka, in Bramfisherville Phase 2 on Tuesday night.

The boy was a grade nine pupil at Kgatelopele Secondary School.

Trio’s spree of murder, bretrayal, fraud

Cape Times

16 February 2012
Leila Samodien

A spree of murder, betrayal and fraud has led to the convictions of a city trio, two of whom have been found guilty of murdering a high school principal.

The string of events unfolded in 2009, starting with the attempted murder of 21-year-old Bongani Dingana of New Crossroads in April.

Married couple Yalezwa Ndzumeka and her husband Vuyisile, a financial clerk at Sithembele Mathiso High School in New Crossroads, took out funeral policies for Dingana and had themselves declared the beneficiaries.

They then plotted to murder him in an attempt to cash in when he died, hiring hitman Luvo Nketho to do the job.

The first attempt to kill Dingana on April 16, 2009, failed, but just two months later – while Dingana was still on crutches, recovering from the first shooting – Nketho shot him dead while he was walking home with a friend.

In the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday, Acting Judge Boet Smit convicted all three accused of Dingana’s murder and attempted murder.

He further convicted the Ndzumeka couple of separate charges of fraud related to the policies, worth tens of thousands of rand.

While the accused argued that they’d taken out the policies at the request of Dingana’s mother, Judge Smit rejected this version as “untrue” and “highly improbable”.

“The court finds that the policies were taken out with the object of causing Bongani’s unnatural death and thereby collecting the proceeds of the policies,” he said.

Judge Smit also found Nketho and Vuyusile Ndzumeka guilty of the murder of Mandisa Nomzoxolo Ndziba, who was the acting principal at the school where Ndzumeka worked, on August 24, 2009 – just two months after Dingana’s slaying.

However, Yalezwa Ndzumeka was acquitted of this charge, with Judge Smit saying “although the probabilities indicate that (she) was involved” in Ndziba’s murder, the evidence put forward by the prosecution fell short of proving this beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nketho – who was again hired to carry out the killing – had confessed to the principal’s murder.

According to testimony highlighted in Judge Smit’s judgment, Ndzumeka decided to murder Ndziba after she discovered corruption on his part.

Police informant Lindile Nkewu had testified that the couple had told him that it would be difficult for Ndzumeka to return to the school because the principal was asking questions about the school’s bank statements.

Had he gone back, he would have to produce the statements, which would show that school money was missing.

In addition to the other charges, Nketho was convicted of several counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition related to the murders and attempted murder.

But he was acquitted of robbing Ndziba of her cellphone during the murder, as well as of money laundering.

After the 160-page judgment, which took Judge Smit several days to read into the court record, a number of New Crossroads community members, including members from the local branch of the ANC Women’s League, rejoiced outside court by singing.

Ndziba’s daughter, Phumza, was emotional, wiping away tears as Judge Smit handed down the convictions.

“I don’t know how to feel,” said a tearful Phumza. “I’m still processing all of this.”

At the request of the defence, Judge Smit postponed the sentencing to March 19, allowing time for pre-sentencing reports to be compiled.

Pay out for wrongful arrest

Pretoria News

16 February 2012
SAPA

The High Court in Pretoria has ordered the police minister to pay R171 000 to an innocent Standerton technician who spent Christmas 2009 in jail, Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday.

Richard Lephoto was arrested in December 2009, after he reported his girlfriend Jane Tsotetsi missing.

Her body was subsequently found in a donga, and police suspected Lephoto of the murder. He was locked up in the Sakhile police cells in Standerton from December 22 to 29, 2009.

During this time Lephoto’s infant daughter died, and the police refused him permission to attend the child’s funeral. The murder charge was later withdrawn, as no evidence could be found linking him with the crime.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the court also ordered the police minister to pay Lephoto’s legal costs.Sapa

Police chief sets leave record straight

Pretoria News

16 February 2012
SAPA

Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer says reported absenteeism levels at the Maitland, Cape Town, police station are incorrect, according to a report on Thursday.

The Cape Times newspaper quoted him as saying that staff took an average of 7.9 days’ sick leave in the last year, and not 77.2 days as reported to Parliament’s police oversight committee.

Lamoer said the figures were “incorrect”, as the 77.2 days figure included provincial units in the Maitland area, such as dog and radio units with their own staff complements. The Maitland radio unit alone had more than 400 staff.

“(The 77.2 days per staff member) would mean that there was no one at the police station, which is not correct,” he told the newspaper, adding that the station had never been closed.

He said it was “a lot of nonsense” that police stations in Bishop Lavis and Fish Hoek closed for lunch. He said officers were available throughout the day, especially when administrative staff went on lunch.

Woman buys back stolen cellphone

The Star

16 February 2012

Yusuf Omar

A WOMAN had her phone stolen at the Noord Street taxi rank last Saturday, only to buy it back the next day from a shop near the crime scene.

Thandi Mkhwananzi, 32, went to buy groceries in town and to visit her taxi driver husband at the rank, as she does every weekend.

“As I got off the taxi at around 1pm, a man bumped into me and his small bag swung into my face. While I was trying to avoid him, he was apologising when another man bumped into me from behind.

“I only realised that my phone was gone when they left,” said Mkhwananzi.

Upset at having been mugged for the first time in seven years of living in Joburg, she took the next taxi home.

On Sunday, her husband urged her to visit him again so she took a taxi back to Noord. He gave her money to buy a new phone.

“The one that was stolen was his birthday present to me last year,” she said.

She walked into a shop near the taxi rank and the first thing she saw was her own phone up for sale.

“I saw a dent in the corner from when I dropped it in the kitchen and dark-red nail varnish on the back, which I spilled on it when I was getting dressed on Friday night,” she said.

Unable to convince the shopowner that it was her phone, she bought it for R300.

When she got home, she found her original phone box and confirmed her suspicions.

“The IMEI numbers matched,” she said.

She returned to the shop and, after some arguing, got her money back.

The Star located the owner of the shop.

“I normally ask the salesman for a copy of their ID and a contact number, but he said he didn’t have any so I just took a chance,” said the businessman, whose name is known to The Star.

The shopowner said he had bought the phone for R200 from a man who looked about 40 years old, who he has done business with in the past.

“It was my mistake,” said the shopowner.

Police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said: “It is illegal to buy stolen goods, even if it’s your own property.”

He said shops selling second-hand goods are operating under the Second Hand Goods Act.

“This means that they must keep records of all goods in their shops, which includes the particulars of person(s) who brought the goods,” said Dlamini.

He said police would investigate the matter.

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