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The late Bukuta Pauline Ramango, who was brutally murdered. Photo supplied.

Anger as murder suspect is granted bail

 

Anger about the perceived inefficiencies of the justice system has communities from all around the Vhembe District in revolt. People say they have had enough of the ludicrously high crime rate and point angry fingers at the local police for not making more of an effort to apprehend criminals. The court officials are also criticised not punishing those who do get caught, often releasing hardened or dangerous criminals on bail and ultimately endangering communities.

In November of 2021, a mentally challenged woman (25) was allegedly raped by her uncle at Tshimbupfe Malonga, outside Vuwani. The suspect, who lived in an adjacent house to the victim, was arrested but the community was shocked to see him back at the village not long afterwards when he was granted bail.

When the outraged community petitioned the court’s decision, the man’s bail was revoked, and he was taken back into custody. He is to appear in court on 1 March 2022.

On 4 February this year, 88-year-old Bukuta Pauline Ramango from the same village was brutally murdered at her home while she was preparing to bath. The suspect in this case, Londolani Makuane (23), who also happens to be a relative, was allegedly confronted when stealing the gogo’s money. When she caught him and called him by his name, he allegedly panicked and killed her before he fled the scene. However, another relative saw him at the house before the murder and he was arrested after being on the run for a day.

The incident angered the community even further and they vowed to do everything in their power to see to it that justice gets served this time - even if it means that they have to take the law into their own hands.

Community leader Samuel Ramulifho said they were very disappointed as a community about the prevalent crime in their village, especially those committed between relatives who are supposed to be taking care of each other. A large crowd of protesters, led by Ramulifho, attended Makuane’s court appearance.

“In the case where the mentally challenged woman was (allegedly) raped by her uncle, we had to fight for the family after the suspect was granted bail without their knowledge. We are happy that the court realised their mistake and revoked his bail, and that he is back in custody,” he said. “However, this time around we will make sure that the same does not happen. Residents came here to make a statement. The message is clear: that he [Makuane] is no longer wanted in the village and that he must not be granted bail.”

Ramulifho said they would support the bereaved family until the case was finalised. “The case traumatised the whole village. We had to cool down residents who wanted to take the law into their own hands, but if he is granted bail, his safety could not be guaranteed. We hope that the message we sent to the court will be heeded and that he spends his whole life behind bars,” he said.

The family’s spokesperson, Mbangiseni Dzivhani, said Ramango’s murder had torn at their hearts. “This is something we never imagined would ever happen, especially not by a member of the family. The old woman did not offer any resistance. He could have just taken whatever he wanted and spared her life, but he decided to kill her in the most brutal way. We have faith in the justice system, and we hope he will get what he deserves,” she said.

Makuane (23) appeared in the Vuwani Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 18 February. His case was postponed to 30 March 2022, and he will remain in custody.

 

 

Date:03 March 2022 - By: Maanda Bele

Maanda Bele

Maanda  Bele, born and raised in Nzhelele Siloam, studied journalism at the Tshwane University of Technology.

He is passionate about current news and international affairs.

He worked as part of the Zoutnet team as an intern in 2017.

He is currently a freelance journalist specialising in news from the Vhembe district.

Read: 1410

 

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