Fugitive cuffed again

2018-07-11 06:01
Andile Banzini Gxamza

Andile Banzini Gxamza

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The murder case of late Bloemfontein tavern owner Alfred Helepi (70) has another twist in the tail after the Hawks have rearrested one of the five accused.

The members of the elite crime-fighting unit have captured fugitive Andile Banzini Gxamza (34) after nearly two years on the run.

Also wanted in connection with theft and housebreaking in Port Elizabeth, Gxamza is set to reappear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on 23 July to apply for bail. He briefly appeared in court on Monday (09/07), after his arrest on Thursday (05/07).

Brig. Hangwani Mulaudzi, Hawks spokesperson, said the Bloemfontein Organised Crime Investigative Unit had arrested Gxamza near the Swartkop Police Station in Port Elizabeth.

“Gxamza was arrested for murder, armed robbery and theft of a motor vehicle. He was being detained at the Swartkop Police Station,” said Mulaudzi.

He said the arrest followed an intensive search since Gxamza’s apparent wrongful release on 11 November 2016 alongside the other co-accused.

According to documents, the other accused are Lesotho nationals Dira Moreenyane (33), Nthabiseng Lempe (33) and Alice Majake (28), as well as Ntsane Togowe (38) from Bloemfontein.

Helepi’s murder has become a puzzling matter and has caused public outrage due to a bungle which saw the five accused released.

The bungle was apparently due to the appointment of two state presiding officers, who were reportedly unfamiliar with the details of Helepi’s case.

Puzzling events included the case struck from the roll by the Bloemfontein Regional Court and then reinstated after postponement.

The suspects were released and then later the Hawks obtained warrants to rearrest the five.

Gxamza had evaded arrest regarding the murder of Helepi. The Hawks have expressed dismay that the presiding magistrate had released Gxamza despite him being wanted since 2012 regarding pending housebreaking and theft cases in Port Elizabeth.

The five accused were represented by Legal Aid South Africa attorneys Machini Motloung and Saintin Seithei­sho at the time of their release.

Gxamza, together with Togowe, reportedly had an exclusive interview with a local newspaper earlier last year, denying ever evading arrest. They also denied their in­volvement in the murder of Helepi.

Following this, Togowe handed himself over and was granted bail of R1 000.

Togowe, also known as Smith, disappeared on 20 October last year during his trial in the Bloemfontein High Court, leaving the case hanging in the balance, much to the dismay of Helepi’s family.

Togowe, who had stood trial alone for the murder of Helepi, vanished during lunchtime after Judge P.E. Moletsoane had adjourned proceedings for a lunch break.

Subsequently, Judge Moletsoane authorised a warrant to rearrest Togowe, who is still at large.

Lawrence Tshabalala, attorney of Legal Aid South Africa, represented Togowe.

Gxamza is expected to also stand trial alone in the murder of Helepi.

The deceased, a former Moroka Swallows player, was killed on 29 March 2016 at his business place in Phahameng, Bloemfontein.

The armed assailants reportedly took an undisclosed amount of money and fled the scene using the deceased’s vehicle.

The car was later found abandoned in Phelindaba, Bloemfontein.

The Hawks’ intensive investigation had led to the arrest of the five accused on different days after the murder.

They were kept in custody until they were released on 11 November, following an order by the court.

The five accused are charged with housebreaking with the intent to commit a crime, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder.

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