Provincial Commissioner warns SAPS members to refrain from committing acts of crime
The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has strongly condemned the acts of criminality by SAPS members more so as members of the police, a former police officer as well as a member of Community Police Forum, appeared at the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on 7 January and on 8 January, on charges of Corruption. All six suspects were granted bail of R2000 each and their case was postponed to 4 March. These first five suspects were arrested on 20 December 2019, by the Mpumalanga Anti-Corruption Unit and made their first court appearance in the Witbank Magistrate Court on the same day, 20 December 2019. At that time, they were remanded in custody until their court appearance on Tuesday, 7 January. Their court appearance follows an incident which occurred on 29 August 2019, whereby suspects entered a Witbank furniture and electronics shop in the Central business area of Witbank. Reports allege that three of the suspects were dressed in police uniform and the other four were wearing civilian clothes. These suspects informed the owner of the business that they are searching the shop and they are specifically looking for drugs. During the search, drugs were found and were confiscated with about R86 000 in cash. The business owner and two of his employees were informed by these men that they were under arrest and were taken to Witbank Police Station for detention. The business owner and the two employees were released on the premise that the confiscated drugs had gone missing, however he was given back an amount of about R36 000 and the rest was kept by the accused. The anti-corruption unit of Mpumalanga investigated the matter and a case docket of corruption was opened at Witbank police station which subsequently led to the arrest of the five suspects. The suspects that appeared in Court on Tuesday, 7 January, are 52-year-old Captain Sekgweni Phasha, 43-year-old Sergeant Nonthuthuzelo Mabena, 34-year-old Constable Mellicent Mlambo, 51-year-old Saint Manyakalala reported to be a member of the Community Police Forum, as well as 49-year-sold Karolus Pienaar who is a former police officer. Meanwhile, 39-year-old Constable Charles Motshele Mogoba ,who works at Germiston Police Station, was added on the list by the Mpumalanga Anti-Corruption Unit on Tuesday, 7 January, in Gauteng and was on the dock on Wednesday, 8 January, at Witbank Magistrate’s Court facing the same charges as the others. He was also granted bail of R2000 and is expected to appear again in the same Court with his co-accused on 4 March. The investigation of the corruption case is still ongoing with the aim to clean up any rotten elements within the ranks as well as anywhere where corruption rises its ugly head. The Provincial Commissioner has further sent a strong warning to law enforcement officers who might be thinking of engaging in corrupt activities. “We will not allow criminality within our ranks which has a potential to dent the image of other upstanding officers who are working hard to root out crime and corruption. We will arrest anyone who commits crime and engage in corrupt activities without fear or favour, even if it means arresting our own,” said General Zuma.
Ten suspects intercepted before robbery
Ten suspects arrested by the police at Verena after being intercepted while on their way to commit an armed robbery on Tuesday, have been remanded in custody. The arrest of the villains came as a result of persistent efforts by the police in Mpumalanga, to curtail the proliferation of illegal firearms which in the main, are used by hardened criminals to commit ruthless crimes including murder. According to reports, the arrest took place after police received information from members of the public on Tuesday, 7 January, about firearms and ammunition that were in transit in a suspicious vehicle. This information led the police to a scene near Verena where they spotted the said vehicle, a Toyota Quantum, on the R544 road, which matched the vehicle description provided. They stopped the vehicle and conducted a thorough search and also searched its occupants. Whilst searching, police recovered five firearms and ammunition. They also managed to recover equipment inside the vehicle, which the police suspected to be used for house breakings. The suspects were charged with possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. They appeared at the Mkobola Magistrate’s Court on 9 January. The suspects, Klaas Mokgoswane, Ayanda Mnisi, Steven Zulu, Godfrey Lubisi, Tshepo Mogapane, Norman Sibiya, Lucky Malebana, Kenneth Senosha, Jerry Mohawule and Nicholas Seimela, aged 25 – 40, were not asked to plea but were all remanded in custody until 14 January, for a formal bail application. The Provincial Commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, welcomes the arrest as well as the recovery of the firearms and labelled the efforts of the police as commendable. He further applauds members of the public for providing such valuable information that led to the arrest of the suspects. “This is a step in the right direction of which it will definitely lead towards eradicating illegal firearms that are being used by heartless criminals to perpetuate vicious crimes in our society. We commend the partnership that exists between police and the community which seeks to narrow the trust deficit and with it, I have no doubt that it will ensure the realisation of Police Minister, General Bheki Cele’s quest of ‘Zizojika Izinto’ (turning the tide against crime), if we could continue to work together, then we can also realise our goal of making sure that our community does not only feel safe but is safe. As the police, we will continue to be robust in searching as well as removing illegal firearms and ammunitions. We therefore encourage community members to continue to partner with the police and to also provide information so that we can be able to operationalise it,” said General Zuma. The police will also probe the suspects further to see if they are not involved in other criminal matters in the province or elsewhere as during the time of their arrest, it came forth that they were intercepted while on their way to commit an armed robbery. It is evident on this information that these villains were determined given the manner in which they were armed and it is also possible that they might be wanted suspects in other places for other violent crimes.
“No place for murderers, rapists and other ills,” says Provincial Commissioner
The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has reiterated the government’s position of stamping the authority of the state against criminals. General Zuma has indicated that murderers, rapists and other criminal perverts is not supposed to share a space amongst society but in jail. He calls on the community to work closely with the police with a clear and solid view of exchanging information that may lead to the arrest of perpetrators of crime. The unwavering words of General Zuma were echoed after he welcomed hefty sentences which were meted against Nhlanhla Mahlangu, 23 and Sifundo Zulu, 22, by Judge Johannes Strydom at the Circuit of the Pretoria High Court, which was sitting at Kwaggafontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 10 January. Mahlangu and Zulu were sentenced to Life Imprisonment for rape and Life Imprisonment for murder. The sentencing comes after Mahlangu and Zulu were linked to a horrendous incident whereby then 20-year-old Nokuthula Skhosana was raped and ruthlessly murdered by these two heartless criminals on Sunday, 3 September 2017, in Tweefontein. The High Court heard how on that fateful day, Mahlangu and Zulu waylaid to strike, like predators, Nokuthula who was walking with a male friend from a liquor outlet situated in Tweefontein. Mahlangu and Zulu viciously attacked the pair, robbed Nokuthula of her cell phone whilst assaulting her friend who managed to abscond from the terrible scene. Unfortunately, Nokuthula never managed to break loose from the two criminals who dragged her to the nearby bushes. These heartless men took turns raping her. After satisfying their evil lusts, they decided to cut her life short by casting her with stones. When they realised that she was still breathing, they strangled her to death using her waist belt.
Eventually it dawned on the two killers and rapists that they have committed a heinous act. So, before abandoning her body, they carried out a plan of masking their evil deed by covering her body with stones for people not to see it. Even after their attempt to hide their sin, Mahlangu was restless at home to a point where he later stole his uncle’s bakkie, drove back to the murder scene where he took Nokuthula’s body and buried it in a shallow grave, about 10 kilometres away from the scene where she was killed.
The matter was reported to police in Tweefontein and the case docket thereof handed over to Detectives who wasted no time and immediately conducted a thorough investigation. The well dedicated police investigation team worked tirelessly, knitted all bits and pieces of information together and followed all leads available. It took them a maximum of seven days to arrest Mahlangu and Zulu who were positively linked to the rape and brutal murder of Nokuthula. The duo was nabbed on 11 September 2017. Police tightened all screws regarding the case at which point even on the bail bid by suspects, which was heard at the Kwaggafontein Magistrate’s Court, was successfully opposed. When Judge Strydom handed down the sentence, he stated that a defenceless young woman was gang raped and brutally killed. That was very heartless and cruel and it was uncalled for. The Judge also appreciated the coordination between the police and the National Prosecution Authority that made the case watertight. Mahlangu was also sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for theft whilst Zulu was sentenced to 3 more years imprisonment on the same charge. For Kidnapping, both suspects were sentenced to 5 years to languish in prison and 5 years imprisonment for defeating the ends of Justice. However, all their sentences will run concurrently.
The Provincial Commissioner has applauded the sterling work done by the Justice Cluster and the team of astute Detectives in ensuring that their investigation was done thoroughly, which has led to the conviction and sentencing of Mahlangu and Zulu who attacked, raped and threatened as well as killed an innocent young woman. He also used the platform to call on the public to come forth with information that could lead to the arrest of 25-year-old Simphiwe Mtsweni’s murderers.
“I want to assure the community that the manner in which we used all the resources at our disposal to secure maximum sentence on Mahlangu and Zulu, we will do the same to Simphiwe’s killers. Perpetrators of Gender Based Violence should know that they do not have a space in our society. It is scary to mention that there are a number of young women who have died in the hands of so called jealous and cowardly boyfriends in the province. These types of killings are often taking place in closed doors where police are not aware. It is against this background that the Traditional Leaders Policing Concept will play a pivotal role in bridging the gap of moral regeneration within the society as they have been instrumental in instilling morals within the society during ancient times. What we have realised is that there is moral decay in the society hence women are willy-nilly being maimed. We need all opinion leaders to partner with government, the police in particular with a view to eradicate the scourge of Gender Based Violence. On the same note, I am glad though that the suspect who mercilessly shot at Laurancia Zinhle Mathebula in December 2019 and absconded the scene, has been apprehended. The arrest of the suspect signal a sigh of relief to the family that at least the suspect, Skhumbuzo Patrick Khoza, 36, was brought to book on Sunday, 5 January,” concluded General Zuma.