Tears as police officer describes Rhodes Park murder

2016-10-27 16:34
Rhodes Park in Kensington, Johannesburg. (Netwerk24)

Rhodes Park in Kensington, Johannesburg. (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Many were left in tears after a police officer described the recovery of two men killed in Rhodes Park in 2015 during testimony in the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Thursday.

“Two men, both naked with their hands tied behind their backs, were retrieved by the divers in Rhodes Park,” Constable Bambatha Jan Tshabalala, told prosecutor Mutuwa Nengovhela.

The first body was retrieved around 21:00 and the second body approximately at 23:00 that evening, Saturday, October 17, he told the court.

He said the man was aged between 21 and 23, and was naked. His hands had been tied behind his back with an item of clothing. Two women left the court in tears as Tshabalala spoke.

He said both men were tied up the same way.

“They were wearing nothing,” he said.

Forgiveness

READ: 'God will deal with them' - Rhodes Park victim

Tshabalala was testifying in the trial of Thabo Nkala, 25, Admore Ndlovu, 23, and Mduduzi Mathibela Lawrence, 32. They have pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, rape, and murder.

They were allegedly part of a 12-man gang that attacked two couples walking in the park, in Kensington, that Saturday evening. They allegedly forced the women’s husbands, Zukisa Khela and Sizwe Tyeke, to strip before forcing them into the lake, where they drowned.

On Tuesday, one victim told the court she forgave the men who allegedly killed her husband.

"I forgive them, God will deal with them. These people do not know what type of person they killed. They took away a husband, friend and a supporter in life. They took away a man that prayed before he died," she told the court.

On Thursday, Tshabalala told the court they were patrolling in Kensington on October 17, when they received a call about an incident at the park.

On their arrival, they found two women who were both crying and shivering. They told him a group of 12 men had raped and robbed them, and that their partners had been thrown into the dam.

“I couldn’t see anything where the ladies pointed to and phoned a detective on standby, because we assign cases of robbery and rape to them,” he said.

He said it was the detective’s responsibility to call the divers to retrieve the bodies. The divers, a team of about five men, arrived between 20:00 and 21:00 in the evening, followed by two photographers.

It was cold and the divers took turns in the water. Police installed a spotlight on top of a police car so they could see. The divers found the men's bodies two hours apart.

When Judge Papi Masopa asked Tshabalala to look at the photo album containing pictures of the two bodies, Tshabalala looked up, closed his eyes, and said the men were not naked and tied up.

Tshabalala said several times he "could not exactly remember what happened" that day and that he was "not entirely sure".

In both photos, the men were dressed and their hands were not tied behind their backs.

Masopa asked Tshabalala who had moved the bodies. He replied that police photographers moved them.

The trial adjourned for lunch.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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