Five men accused of armed robbery, Rabelani Mudau (26), Nkhanyisa Mutungutungu (27), Rabelani Nematahe (27), Nakisani Nemulodi (23) and Ritdshidze Nemuledzhi (19), briefly appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate's Court on Friday.
Slight chaos reigned in Court B in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Friday when five suspects appeared on charges of armed robbery. Fear existed about the possibility that the accused or their friends might try to overpower the police at the court, so that the accused could escape.
The court proceedings had to be interrupted for nearly an hour for the situation to calm down. The state prosecutor, Ms Mashudu Nekhumbe, also called on the police station commander at Thohoyandou, Brigadier Eddie van der Walt, to intervene and he swiftly deployed the Tactical Response Team (TRT) to assist at the court.
The regional spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Limpopo, Ms Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, said the five men appeared on eight counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, two counts of the possession of an unlawful firearm and attempted murder.
The accused allegedly stormed into several supermarkets belonging to Somalians and Indian traders around Thohoyandou Block F, Tshisaulu, Lwamondo and Itsani Riverside, where they robbed them of cash, mobile phones, and airtime vouchers. According to Malabi-Dzhangi, the robberies were committed between 14 August and 10 September, when they were arrested.
The accused were identified as Rabelani Mudau (26), Nkhanyisa Mutungutungu (22), Rabelani Nematahe (27), Nakisani Nemulodi (23), and Ritshidze Nemuledzhi. Two more suspects were arrested on Friday. They are Ndifelani Nthangeni (33) and Isiah Ranzwa (35).
Mutungutungu was out on bail after he was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and pointing a firearm, while Rabelani Nematahe was also out on bail of R5 000, facing murder charges.
The case was remanded to 18 September for further police investigations and a possible formal bail application. The accused remain in custody.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said that the police had received information about the hideouts of the suspects and a task team had immediately been assembled to trace them. They were subsequently arrested on Thursday, 10 September, in separate locations at Gondeni La-Hamabilu, Tshisahulu, and Itsani.
Mojapelo said during the arrest a Nissan NP200, a Citi Golf and one pistol, which was allegedly stolen from its lawful owner in August this year at Itsani, were confiscated.
The provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba, welcomed the arrest of the suspects, who were allegedly terrorising communities in the Thohoyandou, Levubu, and Vuwani policing area. “These arrests will send a clear message to other robbers that the police will always be relentless when confronting the scourge of violent crimes anywhere in the province,” said General Ledwaba.
Date:17 September 2020 - By: Silas Nduvheni