Crime Snippets

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Postmortem on death of learners conducted

The post-mortem on the death of two learners aged 6 and 11, from Nelson Ngobeni Primary School, who died from suspected food poisoning on Monday, 29 July, has been conducted. The preliminary results, however, cannot be disclosed at this stage as they form part of the investigation.
The police have since registered an inquest docket for investigation purposes to establish the cause of death as well as the hospitalisation of eleven others who were also rushed to hospital after complaining of stomach cramps and were vomiting.
The sequence of events indicated that police were firstly informed of a child who was declared dead and eleven others admitted, on Monday evening. Upon arrival at the hospital, the police conducted preliminary interviews to establish what had transpired, only to be informed that a second learner had also died from similar circumstances at a clinic nearby, hence the inquest docket. Currently, several operational activities are to be conducted relating to the investigation to which police request space and privacy to effectively investigate this sensitive matter.

Convicted fraudster resumes sentence following a failed appeal bid

The Emalahleni Regional Court has ordered Lida Potgieter (62), to serve a six years direct imprisonment for 737 counts of fraud after her appeal bid failed on Tuesday.
The case emanates from when she was a manager at the Witbank Municipality and was elected treasurer of the municipalitie’s Sport Club, wherein she stole almost R4 million between 2004 and July 2009. These funds were generated from member fees deducted from staff salaries. Potgieter established an in-house lending scheme which employees invested in, hoping for increased earnings.
The scheme collapsed and the matter was reported to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit for investigation which resulted in Potgieter’s conviction on 18 February 2015. She appealed the judgement and was released on R10 000 bail with conditions pending the outcome.
A warrant for her arrest was issued and she was rearrested and her bail forfeited.

Provincial commissioner warns members to operate within the scope of the law

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, cautions members and employees of SAPS to refrain from participating in unlawful activities. The warning comes considering five police officers arrested in separate incidents on allegations of attempted murder, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm (assault GBH) as well as corruption.
In the first incident, it is alleged that on Friday, Sergeants Evans Mohlala, 45, Charles Sono, 42, Donald Sono, 41 as well as Constable Thabo Madire, 32, stopped a vehicle with three occupants for a search at Middelburg CBD. During the search, they allegedly found a bag containing coal and they instructed the driver to drive to Mhluzi Police Station. Upon arrival at the police station, the officers were alleged to have assaulted the driver, took cash from him and released him thereafter.
All four officers were arrested on Monday morning, 29 July and appeared at the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on 30 July. They were all granted R3000 bail each with the case postponed to 29 August. Meanwhile, Constable Given Mkhwanazi, 23, stationed at Blinkpan SAPS was also arrested on Monday, 29 July, for attempted murder. It is alleged that in the early hours of Sunday, 28 July, Mkhwanazi became embroiled in a fight with a group of people at Mhluzi, Extension 4, which resulted in one of them being shot and injured, hence his arrest.
Mkhwanazi appeared at Middelburg Magistrate’s Court and was remanded in custody pending a formal bail application on 1 August.
The Provincial Commissioner has vowed that bad elements within the service will be rooted out.

Provincial commissioner welcomes hefty sentence

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has welcomed a hefty sentence meted out by the Mkobola Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 1 August, to a 28-year-old man who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.
The collection of information indicates that during September 2017, the man, Thabo Johannes Selepane, heartlessly murdered a 69-year-old man, Abel Meso, at his residence in Dithlaka Section, Mmamethlake. The court heard how on that fateful day, the accused intentionally broke into Meso’s house and when confronted, struck him (victim) on the head with an iron rod. The accused went to the bedroom, took the car keys, dismantled the garage door and drove off in the victim’s vehicle, a Fiat Uno, which was later found abandoned at a nearby bush. Meso, a retired school principal and served as a community Pastor, managed to call for help but later succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.
The consented efforts and hard work by the astute investigating team led to Selepane’s arrest on 24 January 2018.
In addition to the sentence, Selepane was given 5- and 15-year sentences respectively, for housebreaking with intent to commit a robbery as well as robbery with aggravating circumstances, which will run concurrently with the life sentence.
General Zuma is elated by the collective work done by the investigating team, the National Prosecution Authority the Judiciary as well as witnesses and Forensics which led to this notable conviction. He further said that criminals cannot be left roaming around the streets freely while law-abiding citizens live in fear.

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