The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the four life sentences handed down to four of the five gang members from Marite (near Hazyview), as well as 10 year sentence imposed upon the fifth accused. The sentences were handed down by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court which was sitting in Graskop yesterday, 14 June 2022.
The court heard how the community of Marite was terrorized by activities of gangsterism, where brutal murders were the order of the day but many were terrified to come forward with information that could assist police in their investigation as they feared for their lives. The area of Marite which is in Calcutta policing precinct became a war zone for the gangs. In 2019 police realized that most young men were shot and killed with no witnesses coming forth in those murder cases.
Suspects would normally be arrested by the police but then released from custody as the cases were jeopardized due to reluctance by witnesses.
In 2021 the gangs escalated to such an extent that they started to attack families of their rivals. On 05 January 2021 Mr Bongani Partners Makutu was shot and killed at the age of 31 at Mathibela Trust in Marite. The gang members reportedly kidnapped and intimidated a witness, threatening to kill him should he provide information to the police. They released him but later started looking for him in June 2021 due to possible information that he could share with police. The said witness was nearly killed after being shot but fortunately survived with bullet injury to his hand.
The investigation team managed to identify the witness and arranged protection for him where he was subsequently placed under witness protection.
More charges that went along with the murder incident included kidnapping, attempted murder and intimidation.
On 16 June 2021 three members of a gang were traced and arrested at Green Valley near Acornhoek. During their arrest, they were found in possession of prohibited firearm and ammunition. The three are Johan Edward Ndlovu (34), Thulani Maphanga (32) and Tevin Temosho Mokoena (25). Though Mokoena could not be connected to the murder case of Makutu, he was not let off the hook but was charged for being found in possession of firearm with ammunition.
Through intensive investigation, the team managed to further arrest Evens Mavimbela (30) and Shane Ngobeni (24) in September 2021. The two joined their counterparts behind bars.
On 25 April 2022, the trial started in court whereby on Friday, 10 June 2022 all the accused were convicted and the matter adjourned till 13 June 2022 where the case was postponed to Tuesday, 14 June 2022 hence their sentencing.
Ndlovu, Maphanga, Ngobeni and Mavhimbela were each sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. The four accused were sentenced to five years imprisonment for kidnapping and they were also sentenced to five more years for intimidation.
Ndlovu and Maphanga were also sentenced to five more years for possession of unlicensed ammunition.
Ndlovu and Ngobeni were further sentenced each to five more years for attempted murder.
Kidnapping and intimidation will run concurrently with the life sentence for the four accused whilst for Ndlovu and Ngobeni, the count of attempted murder will run consecutively with the life sentence.
The count for possession of unlicensed ammunition for Ndlovu and Maphanga will run consecutively with the life sentence.
Mokoena on the other hand, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for a count of possession of unlicenced firearm with five years for a count of possession of unlicensed ammunition. The court though ordered that both sentences run concurrently. All five accused were declared unfit to possess a firearm.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has ceased the moment to reassure the public that police remains resolute to their mandate of preventing, fighting anything, including gangsterism which threatens the safety and security of communities. The men and women in Blue in this instance proved to have taken heed to the cries of people of Marite and we believe more can still be achieved” said the General.