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Suspected child rapist in court after citizen arrest



Staff Reporter

A 24-year old man has appeared in court facing a charge of raping a minor last month after residents of an informal settlement in Bloemfontein effected a citizen’s arrest before handing him over to the police.

The suspect, Sanele Zweni, appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl that he is said to have forced to undress at gunpoint in his shack dwelling at the Shuping informal settlement in Batho on December 3 last year.

Mangaung police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said members of the community who knew of the rape incident spotted the suspect walking into one of the houses in the area during the holidays and cornered him.

“They then called Batho Police Station and informed the police that they had arrested the . . . suspect,” he said in a statement.

“The police rushed to the scene and detained Sanele for rape.”

Covane said before the arrest, the investigation team followed information of the firearm that the suspect had used to threaten the victim during the rape ordeal.

They visited his shack as they were informed by the victim and found a Girsane 9mm Parrabellum pistol with an empty magazine during the search.

“The firearm was tested and came out as circulated ‘stolen’ during an armed robbery that happened on Wednesday, 15 December 2021,” Covane explained.

“Sanele and another man (allegedly) robbed a truck driver of the firearm and an undisclosed amount of money in Matlala Street, Batho location, at gunpoint.”

It is also believed Zwane robbed two people on December 23 along African Street at about 02:00, shooting one of them in the chest before running away with their cellphones.

A case of attempted murder and robbery were also opened at the same police station and he will be formally charged on the other cases.

Meanwhile, in a twisted quest for justice, nine people have been arrested in QwaQwa for fatally assaulting a man they accused of theft.

Warrant Officer Mmako Mophiring said in a separate statement the nine suspects, who are from Kgoptjane section, Bolata Village in Qwaqwa, allegedly assaulted the man they accused of stealing their belongings and he died instantly on the scene.

“. . . on Monday . . . at approximately 17:00 Tseki police were summoned to a crime scene at Kgoptjane section after community members reported assault of a man by a group of people.

“On their arrival at the scene, the police found the man lying on the ground . . . with multiple injuries and was declared dead by the emergency medical service,” said Mophiring.

An eyewitness told the police that the victim was at home with his cousin when a group of people arrived carrying sjamboks accusing the man of stealing their belongings.

They allegedly started beating him until he became unconscious.

An ambulance was summoned to the crime scene and the person, identified as Themba Petrus Pali, 25, of Semphurwaneng section, Bolata Village in Qwaqwa, was declared dead.

The suspects were also found at the crime scene in possession of sjamboks and nine of them aged between 21 and 39 were immediately arrested.

They will appear before the Tseki Magistrates Court on Wednesday, facing a charge of murder.

Free State Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane warned people not to take the law into their own hands and report criminals to the police.

She said: “Taking law into one’s hands has never been a solution within any society to curb crime . . .

“The person must be apprehended and handed over to the police without any injuries.

“Everyone is regarded innocent until proven guilty before a court of law.”

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Municipal manager facing tender fraud charges granted bail



THE ACCUSED . . . Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha is out on bail

Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha, 49, was on Friday released on a bail of R500 000 by the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court after he was arrested by The Hawks for fraud, corruption and Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The state alleges that he allegedly awarded a contract of R58 million to Kill Crime Security Company in 2020 without following proper procurement processes.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Mothamaha allegedly signed a service level agreement on May 19, 2020, appointing the company to render security services to the municipality for a period of three months without following procurement processes.

“The municipality continued to pay Kill Crime Security Company for almost two years without a contract,” said Shuping.

He said Mothamaha was supposed to appear with his co-accused, father and daughter who are the owners of Kill Crime Security, Thabiso, 55, and Dimakatso Sekhosana, 29, on Monday after they were instructed by The Hawks to hand themselves over on Sunday, but he failed to do so.

The Sekhosanas appeared on Monday facing similar charges and were released on bail of R150 000 each.

Part of Mothamaha’s bail conditions are that he must not enter the offices of the municipality, not interfere with the investigations nor intimidate witnesses.

The case was postponed to September 30 for further investigations. – Staff Reporter

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Six nabbed for alleged theft of network batteries



NABBED . . .  The six men believed to have stolen network batteries and damaged critical infrastructure

 Six men were due to appear in the Marquard Magistrates Court on Friday after being found in possession of eight network batteries believed to have been stolen.

Police spokesperson for the eastern Free State, Warrant Officer Mmako Mophiring, said the suspects were arrested following a joint effort by members of the SA Police Service, private security and farmers.

He said police received information from the community at about 3am last Wednesday saying some unknown men were digging up network boxes and cutting copper inside a manhole.

“The police activated and mobilised other members and arrested the first suspect who is a foreign national near a filling station while sitting inside a vehicle,” said Mophiring.

The man was arrested for possession of suspected stolen property after eight network power box batteries were found in his possession and failed to properly account for them.

While pursuing the matter with the help of some farmers, the police received information at about 8am that some five men were trying to hitch-hike near a certain farm to Senekal.

“The team quickly responded and arrested the three suspects who were successfully linked to the initially arrested suspect. Two other suspects managed to escape but were chased and arrested near a farm going to Senekal. Four of the six suspects are Illegal immigrants and two are South Africans,” he explained.

The six are aged between 23 and 30 years of age.

They are facing charges of contravening the Immigration Act, possession of suspected stolen property and damage of infrastructure.

Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane applauded the community and the team for the prompt arrests and urged them to “continue working together to fight crime”.

Meanwhile, three suspected armed robbers were sniffed out of their hideout in Thaba Nchu near Serwalo on Thursday morning following a petrol station robbery.

Police spokesperson in Mangaung, Sergeant Mahlomola Kareli, said in a separate statement four armed robbers arrived at the petrol garage just after midnight on Wednesday and threatened the security guard with a firearm before tying him up with wire and fleeing the scene with a undisclosed amount of cash and cans of motor vehicle oil.

The suspects demanded keys from the guard and gained access to the back offices.

And while others were busy helping themselves to the oil cans and cigarettes, others were busy grinding the safe to access the money inside.

The four then left the security guard with his hands and feet tightly fastened with a wire.

The guard was only rescued by staff starting duty at 5am.

The matter was reported to the police and a case of armed robbery was opened at Thaba Nchu Police Station and a manhunt was launched.

Luck ran out for three of the suspects aged between 38 and 40 after they were traced and found near Serwalo in Thaba Nchu at about 2am on Thursday and were arrested.

They were found with an undisclosed amount of money suspected to have been stolen during the robbery.

One suspect remains at large.

The three were due to appear in the Thaba Nchu Magistrates Court on Friday for business robbery. – Staff Reporter

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Garden scissor attacker nabbed



THE CRIME TOOL . . . A 64-year-old man allegedly used this garden scissor to attack a man and his family

A 64-year-old man has been arrested after stabbing one person in the stomach with a broken garden scissor and injuring the victim’s family while holding them hostage.

Police say they were called to a place in Verkeerdevlei on Wednesday evening where a person had been stabbed in the stomach.

Upon arrival, they found a 53-year-old man who had been stabbed in the stomach with the broken scissor.

The suspect had already fled the scene.

“The victim was taken to hospital for medical treatment,” said Captain Stephen Thakeng in a brief statement.

Further investigations revealed that the same suspect went to the house of the victim’s 36-year-old daughter house where he held her and her two children – aged 13 and 15 – hostage.

“Tactical Response Team (TRT) members from Park Road were activated at about 21:30 and it was realised that the suspect was holding (the family) hostage in a three-roomed shack,” said Thakeng.

“The TRT members gained entry into the shack and rescued the three from the suspect.

“The three victims were also stabbed with the same half part of the big scissor.”

The suspect is facing a charge of attempted murder and three counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He will appear in the Verkeerdevlei Magistrates Court soon.

THE CRIME TOOL . . . A 64-year-old man allegedly used this garden scissor to attack a man and his family

Meanwhile, a man believed to be terrorising tuckshop owners around Bothaville was arrested on Wednesday following a tip-off by community members.

Police say they received information about a man with a firearm and who might be involved in robberies of tuck shops of foreign nationals at about 16:30.

The suspect’s house in Kgotsong was identified and members of Bothaville Crime Prevention approached it and asked for permission to search the place.

They were granted permission and a 9mm pistol was found and a 27-year-old man from Potchefstroom was arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The suspect will appear in the Bothaville Magistrates Court soon. – Staff Reporter

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