A 44-year-old female, Sheila Seba Graig, was denied bail by the Nelspruit Magistrate Court on Tuesday, 13 August, after she was arrested on Monday facing charges of Trafficking in Persons.
It is alleged that on Monday, 12 August, the suspect arrived at the Nelspruit SAPS Community Service Centre carrying a one-month old baby boy and wanted to write an affidavit to adopt the baby. When asked the whereabouts of the mother of the child, she alleged that the mother is in Belville, Cape Town. The suspect also showed the mother of the child’s affidavit with Belville SAPS date stamp that she was given by the mother of the baby. The police asked the cell phone number of the mother of the child to confirm the adoptions. The suspect gave them a phone number which was answered by a male person who dropped the phone after hearing that he is talking to the police. The ID document of the suspect looked fraudulent.
The investigation revealed that the child was stolen by the suspect from the Belville hospital after claiming to be the relative of the mother who was not well after giving birth. The name of the child’s mother is Bernadett Saayman (26). The child was placed in a place of safety. DPCI is investigating the case.
The suspect is remanded in custody and the case was posted to 20 August for formal bail application.
Three suspects arrested for dealing in rhino horns
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation deployed an integrated team of experts to execute search warrants in Gauteng Province near Johannesburg, on Thursday, 15 August, following months of investigating an alleged rhino horn syndicate.
Three suspects, aged between 45 and 53, believed to be the masterminds behind the rhino horn syndicate were arrested. Two rhino horns, with unconfirmed value and two vehicles as well as an amount of more than R70 000 were seized during the operation which targeted three premises.
The operation comes in the wake of a year-long investigation by the Mpumalanga Hawks members who successfully infiltrated this notorious syndicate that traffics rhino horns within South Africa and abroad, particularly, the South East Asian countries.
This integrated investigation spearheaded by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Middelburg based members, SANParks, the Department of Environmental Affairs, Financial Intelligence Centre, Asset Forfeiture, Crime Intelligence, Forensic Science Laboratory, Special Task Force, Department of Home Affairs, National Prosecution Authority and Mpumalanga Parks Board demonstrated the government’s ability to work together in fighting wildlife trafficking in South Africa and beyond.
Several covert transactions were conducted with the syndicate during the investigation which exposed their entrenched links to the illicit rhino horn trafficking in the Gauteng Province. The syndicate worked meticulously and tried to counter all law enforcement actions to protect their dealings, which made it an extremely difficult investigation.
The crime scene investigations are still continuing to unveil the syndicate’s operations and additional arrests have not been ruled out. All suspects were expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 16 August.
The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Mpumalanga, Major General Mokoena, applauded the sterling work of her members, saying that the members always work hard for fight crime within the province and beyond the provincial boundaries.
The National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lt General Lebeya, commended the integrated work that lead to the dismantling of this Wildlife Trafficking syndicate.
Jealous boyfriend sentenced for murder
Last week, the Mpumalanga High Court sitting in Nelspruit sentenced Hemilion Penuel Mazibuko to 12 years direct imprisonment after he pleaded guilty of murdering the mother of his six-year-old child in Gumakhulu tavern.
The court heard that in July 2017, the deceased and the accused went to the local tavern. They found the tavern full of patrons and they both did not have a place to sit. Later on, the deceased was accommodated by her friends at their table. While the deceased was occupied by her friends, she disappeared and Mazibuko found her standing at the back of the tavern with an unknown man.
He confronted her about why she was standing in the dark with a man and she replied that the man owed her money. He further proceeded that they must leave for their common home. Along the way an argument started where he ended up slapping her and strangling her to death. Upon realising that the deceased is no longer breathing, he buried her in a shallow grave and reported her as missing.
Mazibuko was eventually arrested. He confessed to the commission of the offence and pointed out to the police where he buried the deceased’s body.
In aggravation of sentence senior state advocate, John Maenga, told the court that the accused committed a serious offence and overreacted to a situation that could have been amicably resolved.
During sentencing the presiding officer. Judge Kgoele, found that there were substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence. He then sentenced Mazibuko to 15 years imprisonment; three years suspended effectively and he will serve 12 years direct imprisonment.
The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Adv. Matric Luphondo welcomed the sentence.
Parts of Acornhoek police station damaged by fire
Friday, 16 August, parts of the offices at Acornhoek Police Station were damaged after the station caught fire.
The fire started at approximately 22H20 last night causing extensive damage to the detective offices as well as the Community Service Centre.
The cause of the fire is unknown. However, the South African Police Service Forensic Department will conduct an investigation primarily to determine the cause of the fire.
A comprehensive assessment of the damages will be conducted by experts as it is unsafe for individuals to enter that part of the building which was damaged. The police would like to assure the surrounding communities that service delivery has not and will not be interrupted.
The Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has ensured that a temporary Community Service Centre is established. We, the police have also in the meantime evacuated the awaiting trial prisoners to other police stations for their own safety even though the holding cells were not affected by the fire.
Suspects to appear for possession, dealing or handling of game unlawfully poached
Three men, aged between 31 and 44, are expected to appear before the Graskop Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 19 August, for possession, dealing or handling of game suspected to have been unlawfully hunted or poached.
Their appearance comes after they were arrested in the early hours of Friday, 16 August, along the R532 road between Graskop and Bushbuckridge. On that morning, security guards were patrolling around the timber plantation when they spotted a white bakkie loaded with what looked like dead animals. They (security guards) immediately called the police and upon arrival, the guards together with the police officers pursued and apprehended the suspects.
The suspects were found in possession of a 0.22 rifle, 144 rounds of live ammunition, a spotlight, 1 magazine and 17 dead wild animals that included an African Civet cat, 4 bushbucks, 1 common mountain bushbuck and 11 grey duikers.
All role players were summoned to the scene including officials from the Mpumalanga Parks Board Agency and the suspects were charged in terms of Section 10 of 1998 of the Mpumalanga Nature Conservation Act. It is suspected that the have been poached around the Sudwala/Lydenburg area.
DNA results for the eight victims N11 Road crash finalised
The DNA results which were conducted on the remains of the eight (8) victims of the N11 Road crash have been finalised.
The agonising process came to a close on Friday, 16 August and it was undertaken because the victims were burnt beyond recognition due to the severity of the crash.
The families are expected to converge at Middelburg Hospital in order to receive the remains of their loved ones. The meeting is expected to start at 08h00 on Tuesday, 20 August.
The process will enable the affected families to finalise funeral arrangements.
Mine management will also be in attendance.
The process of taking DNA samples from family members was conducted by the Victim Identification Centre of the SAPS in order to match with that of the victims. The eight were killed during a head on collision between a truck and a minibus last month on the N11 Road between Middleburg and Hendrina. Nine people were killed on impact. The nine were all passengers in the mini bus taxi.