Views from the News
Krejcir case provisionally withdrawn
17 April 2012
JOHANNESBURG – The fraud case against Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir was provisionally withdrawn yesterday at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
This was due to the pending outcome of a court application brought by the state’s main witness. Krejcir is accused of fraudulently claiming a R4.75 million insurance payout from Liberty Life last year, based on a falsified medical report submitted by his then-urologist Dr Marian Tupy.
The charges were provisionally withdrawn due to the application brought to the South Gauteng High Court in last week by Tupy.
The State’s main witness wants the plea bargain process which led to an agreement reached with the State to be reviewed.
Tupy previously admitted to falsifying insurance documents so Krejcir could be paid out for bladder cancer.
Tupy admitted to swapping Krejcir’s blood samples with that of a patient suffering from terminal bladder cancer. He received a suspended sentence in exchange for providing evidence in this case.
State prosecutor advocate Riegel du Toit said that Tupy wanted his conviction set aside so that he may keep his medical licence.
However, Du Toit added that Tupy still stood by the statement he made against Krejcir.
The Czech national said he was disappointed with the withdrawal, as he wanted to be acquitted.
“People must take responsibility for this,” he said.
Speed may have caused Mandela accident
17 April 2012
Speeding may have played a role in the accident that caused the death of former president Nelson Mandela’s great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela, the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday
Johannesburg metro police official Henry Miller, an accident scene investigator and photographer, told the court that in his professional opinion it appeared as if speed was a factor.
Describing the accident scene, which took place on the M1 North just before the double-decker section, Miller said the speed limit in the area was 80km per hour. He outlined how the car hit a concrete barrier on the left side of the road, then swerved across the road and hit a steel barrier.
The driver, Sizwe Mankazana, originally faced charges of drunk driving and culpable homicide. In January last year, the State converted the culpable homicide charge to murder.
Miller said 13-year-old Zenani was still in the car when he arrived at the scene.
Mankazana was driving Mandela home from the Soccer World Cup concert at Orlando Stadium on June 11, 2010 when their car crashed.
On Monday members of the Mandela family including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, her daughters Zindzi and Zenani, and the child’s mother Zoleka were in court, as was Mankazana’s mother.
The trial continues.
DBN businessman fingers police boss
17 April 2012
DURBAN – A businessman claimed in papers before a Durban court on Monday that a police boss was aware of plans to submit allegedly fraudulent invoices to the SA Police Service.
This emerged in documents submitted to the Durban Regional Court by the prosecution in opposition to a bail application by businessman Thoshan Panday.
Panday and Captain Aswin Narainpershad face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, incitement to commit fraud and corruption.
They allegedly offered R1 million to Captain Kevin Stephen for his help in generating false invoices worth R15m for submission to the SAPS from December 2011 to March 2012.
They needed Stephen to help get authorisation for the invoices.
In the documents before the court it is alleged that the national police commissioner was aware of the alleged fraud, but nowhere is his actual name mentioned.
Only the words "national commissioner" and after that "Nascom" — short for national commissioner — are used.
The commissioner allegedly knew of the fraudulent invoices and wanted to sign them, Panday claimed.
Bheki Cele was appointed national police commissioner in July 2009. He was suspended in October 2011 amid allegations of misconduct.
A board of inquiry into the allegations and his fitness to hold office completed public hearings earlier this month and is considering the evidence, arguments and public submissions before preparing a report for President Jacob Zuma and Parliament.
On Monday, the court was presented with an affidavit made by Colonel Phillip Herbst in an application for a search warrant of Panday’s properties earlier this month.
The search warrant was issued prior to Panday’s arrest on April 3.
In the affidavit, it is alleged that Panday said that the national commissioner wanted to sign the invoices.
Panday also claimed in a meeting with Stephen on February 1 that the national police commissioner wanted to ensure he was paid.
The affidavit details several meetings between Stephen and Panday, all of which were secretly recorded and videoed. It is during these meetings that Panday refers to the national commissioner.
Panday’s bail application was postponed until Tuesday.
The State is opposing bail on the grounds that if Panday is released, he could interfere with State witnesses.
At the time of his arrest, he was out on bail on another matter in which he is accused of trying to pay a R2m bribe KwaZulu-Natal Hawks’ boss Maj-Gen Johan Booysen.
"If the applicant [Panday] was prepared to go as far as attempting to bribe a general, there seems little to prevent him from influencing a captain," Herbst said in his affidavit.
Nine men appear in Joburg court on a single day over 62 rape cases
17 April 2012
Baldwin Ndaba and Vuyo Mkize
ON JUST one day, nine men – including a father and son ‘team’ – appeared in the Johannesburg High Court for the alleged rapes of 62 women in and around Joburg.
The father and son from Alexandra face charges of 21 counts of rape, as well as charges of kidnapping, robbery, and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm
The rapes took place at a wide variety of Gauteng locations, and occurred at all hours of the day or night.
There seemed to be no escape for women, who were attacked in deserted zones and busy Sandton, in Marlboro Drive early in the morning and Northgate Shopping Centre, where one victim was raped and robbed of R2 000.
Tiny Moloko, a social worker at People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa), said the high number of rape cases was a terrifying indication of the amount of violence being perpetrated against women in Joburg.
“Those numbers aren’t even a true reflection, as many rape victims don’t even come forward to tell their story. But at the end of the day, women are being raped and robbed and it’s clear that we are living in an unsafe world.
“And then in court, the prosecutors have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the perpetrator is guilty,” she said.
“It is so frustrating seeing victims being grilled in court. Our (Powa’s) legal department does try to assist rape victims with pre-court preparations, but all too often the alleged perpetrators get off for lack of proven evidence.”
Lisa Vetten, of the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, described the upsurge of repeat rapists appearing in court as “terrifying”.
She said the increase was due to the government’s decision to do away with specialised police units, particularly those units that were dedicated to investigating crimes against women and children.
Vetten said dismantling the units had made it impossible for police in different stations to investigate these types of crimes.
According to Vetten, when the units were done away with, serial rapists managed to move from one area to another with ease, and without being detected.
“It was only a year ago that the specialised units were reinstated, which again allowed the police to investigate these crimes effectively.”
Mbuyiselo Botha, of the Sonke Gender Justice Network, said the growing number of crimes against women and children was linked to the increasing violence in SA.
“Some of these criminals have a feeling of invincibility. They believe that ‘I will get away with it, or if I’m caught, the possibilities are that I may get away scot-free’. They look at women as fair game, thinking there will be no consequences,” Botha said.
Botha has, however, acknowledged that the criminal justice system and the courts have acted harshly on these criminals in past cases.
“We need to encourage the courts to do more,” he insisted.
An expert on serial rapists and killers, Professor Anna van der Hoven, was shocked to learn about the father and son.
“These cases are not unusual, but rare. Usually, serial rapists and killers operate alone,” she said.
Man in court for killing 2-year-old niece
17 April 2012
Cape Town – A man appeared briefly in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court for allegedly stabbing his 2-year-old niece to death and hiding her body under his bed, it was reported on Tuesday.
The <http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes> Cape Times reported that Sydwell Mzimkhulu, 38, appeared briefly on Monday and was told to return to court next Monday.
The postponement was to allow his lawyer to familiarise herself with his bail information.
Asanele Mzimkhulu was left in the care of her 12-year-old sister while their mother attended a funeral on Saturday afternoon.
The uncle allegedly sent the older sister to the shop while Asanele was sleeping.
When the sister returned, her uncle and sister were missing.
They eventually forced open the uncle’s shack door and found Asanele’s body wrapped in a blanket under the bed.
A blood-stained knife was also found in the shack.
Graveyard accused (sane)
17 April 2012
Welkom graveyard murder-accused Maartens van der Merwe is fit to stand trial, the Bloemfontein High Court heard on Monday.
The State said his third psychological evaluation report had been completed. Van der Merwe was sent to Pretoria central prison where a psychologist examined him. His defence team confirmed he was fit to stand trial.
Van der Merwe was brought to Bloemfontein after a circuit court judge could not attend the case in Virginia. The matter was postponed to October 29 for trial.
Van der Merwe is accused of helping Charne van Heerden murder and dismember Michael Van Eck, 23, at a Welkom cemetery in April 2010. His trial was separated from Van Heerden’s last year. He has yet to enter a plea.
Van Heerden was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years behind bars on November 25, after being convicted of killing and dismembering Van Eck.
Some of Van Eck’s remains were found in a shallow grave at the cemetery, while others including his facial skin, an eye, and his ears were found in the couple’s fridge. Other body parts were found in a cupboard and in their garden.
PTA court warns ‘killer parent’
17 April 2012
A Pretoria woman accused of bashing her two-month-old baby to death was warned by the High Court in Pretoria on Monday not to talk to any of the State witnesses in her trial.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius warned Marissa Johanna Rudman not to talk to them about anything, after the prosecutor complained that she had been seen chatting to a State witness in the corridor while waiting for the trial to start.
Pretorius postponed the trial of Rudman and her former boyfriend Nolan Baron Schoeman until Wednesday. She also issued a warrant for the arrest of an unwilling State witness.
Pretorius warned Rudman to co-operate with her advocate Karin Alheit.
Alheit was appointed by the Legal Aid Board after the withdrawal of two previous advocates, allegedly because Rudman refused to co-operate with them. Rudman is out on a warning. Schoeman’s bail was withdrawn in 2010 when he failed to appear in court. The couple face charges of murder and child abuse.
According to the charge sheet they abused their two-month-old baby son Wade from birth and handled him in an inappropriate manner by, for example, lifting him by his feet.
The baby was admitted to hospital in March 2009 with pneumonia. Rudman allegedly discharged him herself and refused further medical treatment. He was admitted to another hospital a week later, but was by then critically ill and had multiple injuries, some of which were already healing.
The baby’s injuries included an already healing rib fracture, a fractured forearm, extensive soft tissue injuries as well as brain haemorrhages.
The baby died on April 7, 2010 of a head injury.
The State alleges that the couple also severely abused and neglected another child over three years, starting when the child was four.
Alleged police murder case postponed
17 April 2012
The Pretoria magistrate court on Wednesday postponed the murder case against four police officers who allegedly shot and killed a motorist on July 12.
The case against Warrant Officer Enoch Enoch Makgamatha (40) sergeant Jacobeth Ngobeni (42) Captain Rosina Mabena (41) and Sergeant Lillian Tlhati (53) was postponed to November 17 for further investigations.
The four cops were arrested after they allegedly shot 23-Year-old Nkosinathi Ntuli while he was driving home. The sound technician apparently was driving on the wrong side of the road when the police driving in an unmarked car pulled him off.
Six shots were fired at him, one of which killed him. One of the police officers implicated in the murder, Sergeant Tlhapi admitted that they left the scene after the incident.
The prosecution asked for the postponement pending the outcomes of the ballistic tests and post mortem results.
It is understood that Ntuli took a wrong turn and nearly caused an accident, leading the police to believe that he was drunk.