South African News

Cops likely order killing of couple set to testify in court

A husband and wife who were witnesses in an assault GBH matter were shot dead outside the Randburg Magistrates’ Court earlier today. It is said that one of the deceased was due to face cross-examination in court today when the incident happened. The four accused in the matter, who are police officers, were due to appear in court for trial in the assault matter.

The four accused have not been charged for the double murder but are possible suspects. The defence of the accused Zweli Zakwe put it to the court that the matter had been ongoing since 2018 and that the witnesses had not been threatened before by the accused.

“The assault matter is from 2018 and since then, the witnesses have been alive and have been no threats to their well-being. Why would the accused want to kill them now when they could have done it a long time ago?” he asked.

Read Also: Watch: Female witness shot dead in South Africa outside courtroom

The investigating officer in the matter said it was because it had reached its trial stages which is crucial, adding that they will need to confiscate the cellphones of the accused, and their firearms and perform gunpowder tests on them. The defence was against the notion claiming that this is an invasion of privacy.

“This is an infringement of their privacy and if their cellphones are taken this could lead to incrimination because there could be information separate from this incident that might suggest that they had a motive. I repeat that they are not charged but you want to involve them in your investigation, this is merely based on speculation and suspicion. The state has failed to reveal any reasonable ground to stand on,” he said.

THE RULING

Magistrate Ramanu Sadike, who is presiding over the matter said if an application such as this is made to the court, it is just a matter of courtesy.

“A police officer is warranted to confiscate anything from suspects that will aid him in completing his investigation, him involving the court is common courtesy also bearing in mind that the matter happened outside court,” Magistrate Sadike said. He added,

“After having considered arguments and submissions, I’m of the view that after taking into account the application in terms of Act 36 the order is granted. The respondents must hand in their firearms both official and personal, hand in their cellphones and as soon as the investigations are completed they need to be handed over back to them,”.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said that the matter is from 2018 when a burglary took place at a plot in Midrand. One of the witnesses who is now deceased was a domestic worker at the plot when the incident took place.

“A case of housebreaking was opened but the victims believed the domestic worker was involved. The domestic worker was arrested but later booked out by officers who allegedly wanted to question her.

“She was allegedly taken to a house without furniture and assaulted by the accused. She was released a day after being returned to the station. She opened an assault case and positively identified the accused during an identity ID parade. Their matter was currently in the trial stage and both the domestic worker and her husband had been witnesses due to face cross-examination when they were killed,” Mjonondwane said.

The matter will be back in court on the 23rd of November.

POLICE INVESTIGATING THE DOUBLE MURDER

Gauteng police spokesperson Mavela Masondo confirmed the incident.

“Police have opened a case of murder and searching for the suspects after a male and female were shot and killed outside the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday at 7 a.m.

“It is reported that the victims were walking towards the Randburg Magistrate’s Court when they were approached by the suspect who shot at them. The victims were certified dead on the scene. It is reported that the suspects were driving a black Mercedes Benz. The motive for the killing cannot be confirmed at this stage,” said Masondo.

A case of murder is being investigated and anyone who might have information that can help in the investigation or assist in the apprehension of the suspects must call the nearest police station.

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