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By Wednesday this week, a total of six suspects have been arrested and have appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrates' Court. They are (from left to right top to bottom) Thabang Mabule, Ntshavheni Ndonyane, Njabulo Good Luck Mkhize, Ntevhedzeni Mamida, Ernest Minister Nevondo and Mbuseni Ngubane. Photo: Limpopo NPA.

Arrests in hit-style killings now totals six

 

A former policeman from Diepkloof is one of the suspects arrested in the past week in what is considered a major breakthrough in the investigations into the hit-style killings that have plagued Vhembe over the past three years. By Wednesday this week, a total of six suspects have been arrested and have appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrates’ Court.

The spate of killings in the Vhembe District has resulted in at least 15 deaths. In most of these killings, two or more suspects were involved, using pistols and rifles, and many shots were fired at victims at close range. Despite the high number of deaths, no arrests had been made until recently, leading to concerns from the families of the deceased and accusations against the police of complicity and inaction.

In a recent positive turn of events, the Limpopo police made several arrests in connection with some of these cases. This was confirmed by the regional Limpopo spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, Ms Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi.

A total of six men, Thabang Mabule (37), Ntshavheni Ndonyane (43), a former police officer in the Public Order Policing Services unit of Soweto, Njabulo Goodluck Mkhize (30), Ntevhedzeni Mamida (32), Mbuseni Ngubane (48), and Ernest Minister Nevondo (42), have all appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrates’ Court, where they are facing serious charges such as conspiracy to commit murder, murder, unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, possession of stolen vehicles, unlawful possession of firearms, and unlawful possession of ammunition.

It is alleged that between February and April 2024, in the Sibasa and Mukula areas, the accused shot and killed Mpho Thabela and Christopher Sinthumule. “The accused, Ntevhedzeni, was previously charged alongside the two deceased persons in the Thohoyandou Magistrates and Sibasa Regional Court, facing counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, extortion, conspiracy to commit cash-in-transit, unlawful possession of firearms, and unlawful possession of ammunition,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

News of the arrests began circulating over the weekend, but the police took some time to confirm it.

Mabule from Dobsonville, Ndonyane from Diepkloof, and Mkhize from Ladysmith were arrested and made their first appearance in the Thohoyandou Magistrates’ Court last Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder in connection with the killing of Mr Mpho Thabela on 20 February this year at Miluwani in Sibasa. Thabela had just returned from the Sibasa Regional Court, where he had appeared in another case. Mkhize is also facing charges in Witbank for possession of eight unlicensed firearms, including a number of AK47 rifles, an R5 rifle, an R4 rifle, and a pistol. He was granted bail upon his first appearance in Witbank, with his case postponed to 29 November 2024 for further investigations. Mabule and Ndonyane also appeared in court in Mokopane on Wednesday for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition found in their vehicle. Their bail application was abandoned.

In another breakthrough, the police arrested Mamida from Maniini outside Thohoyandou. He stands accused of conspiracy to commit murder and the murder of Christopher Sinthumule, who was shot multiple times in broad daylight at a busy traffic crossing in Mukula outside Thohoyandou on 17 April this year. Mamida was arrested in Mpumalanga and allegedly found in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. He will appear again in the Middelburg Magistrates’ Court in June. Mamida had been out on R3,000 bail, granted when he appeared in court on 12 October last year. He also faces charges of intimidation and robbery with aggravating circumstances in Thohoyandou. Nevondo was arrested and faces charges of possession of a BMW stolen in Booysen, Gauteng, valued at R150,000.

“The arrests of these six accused persons resulted from an extensive multi-disciplinary investigations team established by the provincial commissioner of Limpopo to investigate the killings in Vhembe District. As investigations are ongoing, charges might be added to the current case,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

The case was adjourned for Legal Aid services and bail applications and postponed to 7, 14 and 24 June this year. “All accused are remanded in custody until their next court dates,” said Malabi-Dzhangi. She added that there is a possibility that the six men’s cases will be joined.

 

Date:24 May 2024

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