Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

19 June 2022

Five (5) suspects appeared at the Magistrate Court in Bethal on Monday, 20 June 2022 after they were arrested on allegations of murdering a Nigerian man, aged 25 as well as for gang raping three women, aged between 27 and 35.

Three of those suspects are under age (two are 17 years old whilst one is 16 years old).

The horrific incident reportedly occurred at Bethal on Friday night, 17 June 2022.

According to the report on Saturday, 18 June 2022 police received a complaint from Bethal hospital about a man who was admitted with multiple stab wounds but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries.

Upon arrival at the hospital the members opened a murder case.

According to the media statement released by the Office of the Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner investigation by the police then revealed that on that fateful night a group of about five males reportedly had an altercation with the man who then ran towards a local fuel station in Bethal.

It is further alleged that the man was pursued by the suspects thereby stabbing him several times before they left him in a pool of blood.

The medical personnel were notified about the incident and upon arrival they took him to hospital but later the victim was certified dead.

Police learnt through their probe that after the incident, the suspects proceeded to a certain house where they found three women and allegedly gang raped them before they fled the scene on foot.

A team consisting of the Bravo Security Company, members from Bethal, Secunda Crime Intelligence and Emzinoni converged with a sole purpose to bring the suspects to book.

All the suspects were cornered were arrested and charged for murder with additional three counts of rape on Saturday, 18 June 2022.

The man has reportedly been identified by his family as Mr June Mwafor and the police are working in collaboration with other stakeholders, including the Probation Officers as well as Social Workers, taking into consideration the fact that some of the suspects are minors.

Police cannot rule out the possibility of the five being involved in some kind of gangsterism however this will form part of the investigation by the detectives.

All suspects appeared at the Bethal Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 20 June 2022 facing the outlined charges.

According to Const Thomas Mokgadime, Communication Spokesperson at Bethal SAPS, the two adult male suspects were identified as Sunday Sibiya (24) and Mkhanyiseni Ncamu (29) and appeared separately from the child offenders and their matter was postponed to 29 June 2022 for legal aid and formal bail application.

Meanwhile on the child offenders, the probation officer was summoned to court to compile assessment reports of the three child offenders and referred the matter for normal court proceedings and their matter subsequently postponed to 22 June 2022 for legal aid and formal bail application.

All the suspects were reminded in custody.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has reassured the public that police will continue to work tirelessly in order to dismantle any form of criminal groupings or syndicates that terrorize communities with crime, citing the recent hefty sentence imposed in Marite.

“There is so much space created by the various challenges that the world faces today, of which young people can turn into opportunities by bringing forth innovative ideas and solutions rather than engaging themselves in criminal activities.

We encourage the youth to join Youth Crime Prevention Desk in their respective police stations in order to constructively participate in inventive ways of preventing and tackling crime in the society” said the General.