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Murder Files Latest: 17 men appear in Klerksdorp Regional Court

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Seventeen men have appeared in the Klerksdorp Regional Court to face two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder this week.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Henry Mamothame, said the murder accused who are reportedly 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 on 19 September 2018,

“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,” Mamothame said.

During the assault, Mooketsi Mogapi, 33, died at the murder 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, state advocate Benny Kalakgosi resolved to withdraw murder charges against Jimmy Sparks, 38, Othusitse Keohitlhetse, 28 , Maruping Wageng, 32 and 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 said.

He 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 enquiry 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.

The state led its evidence in chief with its first key witness, Shadrack Mokonyane who survived the onslaught.

He testified how on the day of the alleged murders Bongola, Ndlovu, Leonard, Mohlolo, Isaac and Ngubane forcefully took him to a river where they allegedly attempted to drown him.

“He alleges 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,” Mamothame said.

“He also testified that the accused confirmed to him that his friend is dead and he would also be killed.”

The murder case has been postponed to 9 June 2021 to allow cross-examination by the defence team.

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