CAPE TOWN– A Cape Town prosecutor has called for a 12-year jail sentence for a 14-year-old gangster who shot dead a
CAPE TOWN– A Cape Town prosecutor has called for a 12-year jail sentence for a 14-year-old gangster who shot dead a
CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape High Court has ruled that live coverage of the Henri van Breda murder trial will be
Port Elizabeth – A well-known Port Elizabeth church leader has been found guilty of fraud involving about R3m,
CAPE TOWN – A Parkwood gangster has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 10-year-old Jayden Smith.
Ockert Johannes Stephanus Fourie was granted leave to appeal his sentence.
The Oudtshoorn Magistrates’ court sentenced 57-year-old
CAPE TOWN – A dad is facing a charge of murder after shooting dead a man who was allegedly harassing his daughter.
Juanito Otto, 43, was gunned down in Kraaifontein on Sunday evening.
It is alleged the father of one had been harassing his ex-girlfriend, but that her father, a security guard, had gotten PHOTO: The accused’s wife shows where Juanito Otto died. Picture: Solly Lottering/Daily
Voice fed-up and pulled his service
Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirms the incident and arrest at Didi Street, Scottsdene and that a 59-year-old man was arrested and is facing a charge of murder.
The alleged killer may not be named until he has appeared in court.
On Monday, his devastated wife blamed Otto for her husband’s arrest.
“Otto never married my 34-year-old daughter, they went out for six years. She took out two interdicts against him, but he tore them up,” said the mother.
“He was jealous and when he was drunk he came to terrorise her every night.
“On Sunday my husband warned Nito twice to stay away.
“Nito grabbed my husband by his chest, and the next moment I just heard one shot, and then I saw him lying dead by the toilet door.
Juanito’s wife Yolanda Otto, 43, said her husband loved playing rugby, and used to run out for local club Scottsdene FC.
Regarding the allegations against her husband, she said: “Thank you Daily Voice for bringing this to my attention, but I don’t want to comment on that. God will take care of them.
Daily Voice/Iol News
A woman’s undertaking to use her pension contributions to repay some of the money she embezzled from her employer saved her from a prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years jail this week.
Instead, she was jailed for 10 years on 534 counts of fraud, involving R1 455 149 that she embezzled from her employer over a period of four years.
Magdalene Sawyer, 53, a married mother of two minor children, pleaded guilty when she appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, on Monday.
The proceedings took the form of a plea bargain between her attorney and prosecutor Jannie Knipe.
Initially, her husband, Victor, faced similar charges, but the charges were withdrawn on the basis that he was unaware of what his wife was up to in her job as payroll supervisor with a company in Epping in Cape Town.
According to court papers, her position as payroll supervisor gave her unrestricted access to the company’s electronic VIP payroll system.
However, she abused her position of trust by manipulating her “super user” account with the company.
Her manipulation enabled her to channel amounts totalling almost one and a half million rand into her own two private bank accounts, and into an account that was in her husband’s name – without her employer noticing the discrepancies.
According to court papers, the substantial and compelling circumstances that justified the court’s deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years jail, were her undertaking to sacrifice her pension contributions, amounting to R66 355, and her plea of guilty which dramatically shortened what would otherwise have been a protracted trial.
PHOTO: A South African Airways (SAA) Boeing 737 airliner is seen on the hard shoulder at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, 11 March 2016. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Acting Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane on Tuesday claimed two victories for the SAPS. Suspects have been arrested for the heist at OR Tambo and others have been arrested for the killing of 14 artisan mineworkers in Benoni. By GREG NICOLSON.
Acting Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane addressed a media briefing on Tuesday evening, promising to update on investigations into the high-profile cases at OR Tambo and the mass killings of informal mineworkers in Benoni recently. SAPS has been under pressure to make progress in both cases and the acting commissioner, unlike in his previous media briefing, said there were significant updates.
The brazen multimillion-rand heist from the airport, obviously, perhaps unfortunately, dominated the briefing. Phahlane said there was a “significant breakthrough” in the investigation, with four people being taken in for questioning and two people having been charged in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court.
“We have resolved as law enforcement agencies to work hard in ensuring that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to book. Within a week of investigations and interviewing of people of interest pertaining to this case we can confirm that four people have been taken in for questioning.”
Thieves robbed millions of rand in foreign currency from the national keypoint, OR Tambo International Airport, last week, leading to widespread allegations that it was an inside job. According to reports, the airport’s supposedly secure North Gate 1, which caters to VIPs and dignitaries, was penetrated by the thieves after police officers failed to pitch for their shift and security officials failed to respond to a heightened warning from Airports Company South Africa. Police have confirmed that the thieves entered the gate with a car illegally marked with SAPS branding and others with blue lights. The value of foreign currency they stole is still unclear, and Khomotso on Tuesday would not confirm any figures, but the thieves used the same airport entrance as when R100-million was stolen in 2006.
Phahlane said the police officer involved is yet to face court. “There is no charge which is a heist. It is armed robbery. That’s the case which is being pursued in this instance,” he said. “We are not going to rule out further arrests, even if those that are still to be arrested are members of the South African Police Service. It is early days. We can’t say that while we are in these initial stages, we can’t say that we have dealt syndicates a blow.”
Phahlane credited the SAPS’s crime intelligence unit with uncovering the alleged criminals and denied the arrests came from tip-offs. “We are not solely dependent on tip-offs so maybe you should start by congratulating crime intelligence in this instance, which has worked very hard in gathering intelligence which has led to us being successful in apprehending some of those involved.”
He claimed reports the police and airport security had been tipped off about the crime “remains a rumour” and said of the amount of money was stolen, “We can’t give any figures at this stage.”
He also gave an update on investigations into the 14 people killed in Benoni recently. Bodies were found dumped near mine shafts and the suspicion was they were linked to illegal mining. The deaths follow a litany of mass killings related to the artisanal mining industry in recent years. Phahlane said four people have been arrested in relation to the killings and the SAPS is in discussions with Interpol to have foreign suspects extradited. While reports have suggested the killings related to different nationalities of zama zamas, Phahlane on Tuesday said all victims and perpetrators have so far been identified as Lesotho nationals. Those arrested in Lesotho were found with illegal firearms, which the SAPS hopes to test to see if they link to the Gauteng killings.
Both the OR Tambo robbery and the killings of informal miners were high-profile cases and Phahlane’s announcement of reasonably rapid arrests were a win for the SAPS, which has been under siege for failing to solve such high-profile crimes. These cases matter: They intensify the perception that the SAPS is failing to address violent crimes in society.
Before we applaud SAPS for solving the dramatic OR Tambo heist and violent killings of mineworkers, we should remember another high-profile case. After former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa’s 2014 killing, the police prioritised the case and set its best officers to finding the culprits. A number of suspects were questioned, even charged. They were later released due to a lack of evidence, with significant adverse consequences for those who were accused of the crime. No one has, as yet, been held culpable for Meyiwa’s killing.
Phahlane on Tuesday didn’t emphasise the charges for the OR Tambo heist or the mineworker killings as a significant win for SAPS. He wanted, however, to show that the police are doing their job. The accused must be found guilty before we start trusting SAPS again.
WARNING: This article mentions violent acts that might be offensive to sensitive readers.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
Anyone who still thinks SA’s prisons are luxury hotels should think again – particularly about the underlying reasons why inmates died, warders were critically injured and cells set alight during rioting at Leeuwkop, Krugersdorp, St Albans and Johannesburg (Sun City) prisons late last year. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
A Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS) investigation into Christmas clashes at St Albans has now revealed that Department of Correctional Services (DCS) officials caused or contributed to the deaths of three inmates.
Whether murder, attempted murder, culpable homicide or torture charges are instituted against the implicated officials remains to be seen. JICS has no statutory powers and is unable to compel DCS to comply with its recommendation that the officials are appropriately prosecuted.
Currently, according to Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI) director Professor Lukas Muntingh, in spite of thousands of complaints of assault recorded by DCS, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), JICS and the SA Human Rights Commission, there hasn’t been a single prosecution of a correctional official implicated in the death of a detainee for years. And Muntingh is only aware of one prosecution of a state official for the crime of torture since torture was criminalised in 2013.
However, with new Inspecting Judge Johann van der Westhuizen at its helm, JICS is investigating the possibility of a public hearing – as permitted by both the Correctional Services Act and the Commissions Act – to establish the truth of what really transpired at St Albans, and possibly at other prisons as well. The only time a similar hearing has taken place was nearly 20 years ago, under the auspices of Judge John Trengove, JICS’ first Inspecting Judge.
If inmates are to be believed, human rights violations, overcrowding, assaults, torture and frustration with managements’ refusal to deal with their grievances are at the heart of the matter. Though DCS’ version of events may differ, despite three requests from the Wits Justice Project (WJP) last week, DCS was still unable, or unwilling, to confirm the numbers of deaths, injuries or causes of chaos at the four prisons.
“The completion of the multidisciplinary investigations will confirm the exact cause of these incidents… While it is important for DCS to finalise investigations as soon as possible, numerous factors outside its control influence the time taken to complete an investigation,” DCS spokesman Logan Maistry commented.
Attorney Egon Oswald, who is representing six survivors of the recent St Albans violence, notes: “When people are treated inhumanely and the fundamental issues are not dealt with by the system, they will try to find their own solutions.
“The recent stabbings at St Albans were undoubtedly a protest against prison conditions. In addition, during the St Albans attacks, warders beat up inmates, not to protect themselves but to punish them. This constitutes torture. As long as the basic reasons are unresolved and papered over, prisons will remain on edge and inmates will continue to be subjected to horrific levels of violence.”
Interestingly, the JICS investigation into the December deaths at St Albans raises questions about events that occurred in the same prison in 2005 when 231 inmates alleged they were brutally assaulted, tortured and beaten during a prison-wide orgy of collective punishment. Though a Port Elizabeth High Court decision dismissed inmates’ claims as the product of gangsters’ fertile imaginations, many of the implicated warders remain in DCS’ employ, and none were disciplined.
What’s more, the PE High Court decision followed a 2010 UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) judgment which found SA guilty of gross human rights violations after St Albans inmate Bradley McCallum submitted a complaint alleging he was beaten, raped by a warder with a baton, attacked by dogs, shocked, trampled on and tortured during the mass beatings.
More than two decades since the advent of democracy and 10 years after the release of the Jali Commission’s report into allegations of Corruption, Maladministration and Violence in DCS, little seems to have changed in SA’s prisons where human rights violations seem the order of the day. According to Muntingh, in 2014/2015, more than 3,150 prisoners alleged they had been assaulted by officials, an increase of more than 3,000 compared to 2011/12 – indicating an entrenched culture of impunity in DCS, and a failure by JICS to deliver on its constitutional purpose.
Though gangsterism has long been the default excuse, or explanation, for prison violence, it now emerges that the problem may lie with management. Surprisingly, according to Sun City Medium B head Samuel Mhlangu, gangsterism at his centre has declined from 17 cases in 2013 to just one in 2016. And, according to Maistry, very few of DCS’ 243 correctional centres are currently grappling with this challenge.
A January South Gauteng High Court application demanding a written response from management to inmates’ grievances – filed by 12 members of Sun City’s Participative Management Committee – (PMC) also blames management for the prison’s problems. “Inmates feel totally disregarded and disrespected by management, they feel the only way to get answers and resolution of matters is through violence and destruction….” the application states.
“As PMC, we are against such behaviour but feel powerless as all our engagement with management has led to no progress,” says Phillip Lekgau, PMC deputy chairman. Lekgau says that for a year-and-a-half management has failed to deal with a long list of inmates’ grievances relating to overcrowding, lack of bedding, clothing, dietary needs, transfers and inadequate medical attention.
“Though gangsterism is not the culture of Sun City, and hasn’t been for many years, inmates’ frustrations with management means the threat is starting to re-emerge. As a result, the prison is back into a state of very high tension. Gangs are threatening to riot and chaos may ensue eminently. Unless action is taken, lives may be lost, the innocent could be injured, State property could be damaged.”
Krugersdorp inmates also claim that management’s failure to address inmates’ concerns – rather than gangsterism – led to the October riots. Though both DCS and JICS deny claims that anyone died when 14 cells were set alight, a Krugersdorp inmate who wrote to the Wits Justice Project (WJP) last month claims three people lost their lives as a result of either burns, or smoke inhalation.
According to this source, the offender who allegedly died in the flames set himself alight to draw attention to his plight – he was unable to obtain a transfer: “Conditions of detention are so bad here, that … offenders resort to cutting themselves to ribbons with razor blades and other sharp objects in order to be transferred to a better managed centre.”
When Edward Moabi arrived at Krugersdorp late last year, he says his cell designed to house 32 inmates accommodated 75. As a result, Moabi was forced to sleep in the toilet while other inmates slept in the showers. Luckily for Moabi, he managed to purchase a bed for R500 from an inmate who was leaving: “I couldn’t face sleeping on the toilet floor any longer. Until now, I’ve never been given bedding. Inmates usually have to buy their bedding from other inmates or warders.”
Predictably, chronic overcrowding leads to a host of other problems – including illness and what Muntingh, citing the Jali Commission, describes as “the horrific scourge of sexual violence that plagues our prisons, where appalling abuses and acts of sexual perversion are perpetrated on helpless and unprotected prisoners”.
According to Moabi, sodomy and rape are common in Krugersdorp: “Officials do nothing even when inmates complain, or ask for medical assistance. Also, anyone who doesn’t toed the line is locked up in Cell 44. Not even a toughened gang member wants to see the inside of that cell. About 105 offenders are locked up there in a small cell supposed to be for 32 people. It’s literally the last stop to hell. Not many people survive with their sanity and humanity intact.”
To make matters worse, inmates believe they have no effective channel to voice their grievances. “What is happening to inmates here is inhumane,” Moabi says. “No one can even remember the last time an independent prison visitor from JICS was seen here.” JICS spokesman Umesh Raga says this situation will be rectified in April when independent prison visitors will be appointed.
In the interim, the apparent lack of efficacy of the independent prison watchdog drove Sonke Gender Justice to lodge a Constitutional Court application challenging JICS’s constitutionality. Sonke, represented by Lawyers for Human Rights’ attorney Clare Ballard, claims that a lack of independent oversight has permitted Correctional officials to violate inmates’ constitutional rights with impunity.
Sonke also claims JICS lacks the structural, operational and institutional independence and legal powers to discharge its functions effectively, and maintain credibility. It argues that JICS should be reconstituted as a completely independent body in the same way that IPID is independent of the South African Police Service.
At present, not even the Inspecting Judge, who heads JICS and is appointed by the president, has the power to take disciplinary action, make binding recommendations or hold government accountable for violations. And ironically, as presently constituted JICS is financially dependent on DCS – the very department it was set up to monitor.
Without effective oversight, an entrenched culture of impunity informed by a lack of regard for culpability or consequence has for many years appeared to characterise the Correctional Services mindset. As a result, urgent action is required to address grievances before SA’s prisons implode and violence spills out over prison walls.
While DCS drags its heels regarding its investigations into the recent prison violence, Van der Westhuizen has a unique opportunity to start reclaiming JICS’ credibility. Though establishing a public hearing is likely to reveal some uncomfortable truths about life behind bars, it will hold Correctional officials publically accountable and, at the very least, help bereaved families obtain closure over their loved ones’ deaths. After all, prisoners’ rights are indistinguishable from human rights.
Carolyn Raphaely is a senior journalist with the Wits Justice Project based in the University of the Witwatersrand’s Journalism Department. The project investigates miscarriages of justice and human rights abuses related to SA’s criminal justice system.
File: A Gavel on cuffs. Picture: SAPS
CAPE TOWN – A Mitchells Plain resident has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the possession of an unlicensed firearm.
The Mitchells Plain Regional Court also handed Shafiek McDillon 12 months for the possession of ammunition.
The sentences will run concurrently.
Police arrested the 44-year-old after they received information about his whereabouts.
The police’s Noloyiso Rwexana says: “The sentencing came after an incident which occurred on 13 September 2016, where the suspect threatened the victim with a firearm. The suspect was later arrested by [officers] attached to railway police.”
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