By Jonk wa Mashamba
Seventeen men appeared before the High Court of South Africa; North West Division, sitting in the Klerksdorp Regional Court on two counts of murder and four for attempted murder.
According to Henry Mamothame Regional spokesperson North West Division SAPS, on 19 September 2018, the accused who are said to be taxi operators in Boitumelo near Bloemhof, allegedly forcefully took six of the victims to Boitumelo taxi rank and assaulted them with spades, pangas, sjamboks, sticks and other objects.
Mamothame said the six were allegedly criminals belonging to a criminal gang known as SVK, notorious for terrorising the community for a long period and some of them facing criminal charges.
“The taxi operators then took it upon themselves to deal with these alleged criminals by taking the law into their own hands.
“During the assault, Mooketsi Mogapi (33) died on the scene and Teboho Thoo (21) died four days later in hospital. Shadrack Mokonyane, France Watkins, Kashiso Mahashe and Thabang Leepile were severely injured but survived the onslaught.
“After a thorough study of the docket, Advocate Benny Kalakgosi resolved to withdraw charges against Jimmy Sparks (38), Othusitse Keohitlhetse (28), Maruping Wageng (32) Headman Noguga (37) citing no evidence linking them to the crimes.
“He is, however adamant that there is reasonable evidence linking the remaining twelve accused to the crime,” Mamothame.
Mamothame added that Kalakgosi also provisionally withdrew a case against Tshepo Leeuw (17) who was a minor when he was arrested and charged. His matter will be referred back to the regional court for a preliminary inquiry to be conducted in relations to the Child Justice Act.
“Meanwhile the other twelve accused, Mohau Motswana (43), Olebogeng Ndlovu (28), Ivan Leonard (31), Mxholeli Bongola (41), Poliri Mohlolo (26), Isaac Ndlovu (29), Ishmael Ngubane (29), Nkululeko Nkencele (48), James Qankase (36), Jeremah Bonokwane (20), Boitumelo Magage (25) and Daniel Qangase (50) pleaded not guilty to all six charges levelled against them.”
The state led its evidence in chief with its first key witness, Shadrack Mokonyane who survived the onslaught.
Mokonyane testified on how on the day of the alleged crimes Bongola, Ndlovu, Leonard, Mohlolo, Isaac and Ngubane forcefully took him to a river where they allegedly attempted to drown him.
He alleged that he was then taken to the taxi rank where he was thrown on top of an unconscious body of his friend and got assaulted with an iron rod, sjambok and got stabbed next to his right elbow.
He also testified that the accused confirmed to him that his friend was dead and he would also be killed.
The matter is postponed to today, 09 June, 2021 to allow cross examination by the defence team.