How the monster almost got away

2012-01-15 14:45

Polokwane - In their massive manhunt for the “monster of Modimolle”, the police more than once traced the wrong person.

This happened while Johan Kotzé was hiding in the bushes only about 4km from the local police station for more than a week.

City Press has learned that after a court order was obtained last week to trace Kotzé’s cellphone signal, the police apparently traced an 071 number instead of Kotzé’s 074 number.

Police members apparently followed a person in the Free State for a few days before they discovered their mistake when they wanted to pounce on him but realised he wasn’t Kotzé.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said everyone was looking for Kotzé and members of the police were under great pressure to apprehend him.


“Mistakes occur in any investigation, and these officers were working 24 hours a day to arrest all the suspects.

We received many calls from people throughout South Africa who had seen Kotzé. In one instance, police members saw a white Toyota Fortuner with Free State registration plates. Those members went for it, but it wasn’t him,” Mulaudzi said.

He said they were really proud of the arrests and hard work that went into the investigation.

Lieutenant Colonel Malesela Mogale, the police station commander in Modimolle, accompanied City Press to the site where Kotzé had allegedly been hiding.

He said they never thought of looking for Kotzé so close to the town, and one of his policemen drove past the place every day.

Kotzé was arrested at about 11:45 on Wednesday at the house of his friend, Dirk van der Merwe, in Schoeman Street, Modimolle after being seen at a local shop at about 20:00 the previous evening.


Ali Akbar, 29, the owner of the shop, said he thought Kotzé was someone who had just come in to quickly buy a few things after a long day’s work.

Fortunately one of Akbar’s customers recognised Kotzé when he came in to buy water, tins of corned beef and cold drinks.

“He was doing his shopping calmly and wasn’t at all nervous. The woman phoned the police, who arrived here only five minutes after he had left. I didn’t know who he was,” Akbar said.

It’s not known where Kotzé was when the police did a careful search of Modimolle and the surrounding bush, nor how he came from the other side of town on foot without anyone seeing him.

Van der Merwe, a dental technician, said it was a great shock when he turned around at the laboratory next to his house and found himself face-to-face with Kotzé.


“I had taken my pistol and was looking for him myself the previous day when I heard he was in Modimolle. I didn’t find him. When he arrived at my house, I didn’t know whether he was armed and was going to shoot me or not.”

Van der Merwe confirmed that Kotzé took some blank pages out of a notebook of his shortly before Kotzé tricked his estranged wife, Ina Bonnette, 42, into seeing him last Tuesday.

“I told him on that day to write out a nice story for her,” Van der Merwe said.

City Press understood that the police found two pages at the scene in which Kotzé apparently outlined his grisly deeds and a “hitlist” containing the names of Bonnette’s daughter and her parents, whom he apparently also wanted to murder.

“Ina’s parents realised something was wrong when neither she nor Conrad [her murdered son] answered their cellphones, but they received calls from Kotzé. They didn’t answer them,” Van der Merwe said.

Mulaudzi said he couldn’t confirm or deny the contents of the pages or the existence of a “hitlist”.

  • Lyndatjie - 2012-01-15 15:06

    I'm trying very hard right now to be positive and defend our struggling police force... but for goodness sake! Following the wrong Cell Number? REALLY???? How many man hours were lost because of this incompetence?

  • mario - 2012-01-15 15:13

    but why he hates her so much?

  • braamc - 2012-01-15 15:14

    Hardly a surprise, they are useless, no proper investigation skills, and a great deal of corruption within the force, the crime statistics just reflect the type of "work" that gets done by them.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-15 15:27

    Kotze` would have killed many other innocent people if he was in the mood because of this neglegence.

      tdupreez1 - 2012-01-16 06:58

      I agree!!!

  • Max - 2012-01-15 15:35

    The next article on this blown up story will be something like, how the monster almost didn't do it or how the police almost single handedly screwed up the investigation. Enough already, give us something newsworthy.

      tdupreez1 - 2012-01-16 07:00

      No I hope the next article is on the police and how bad their service is, this is not a blown up story, this should be posted all over!

  • AyGeewils - 2012-01-15 15:35

    They might like to imagine that it is normal to make mistakes like this - but what could the cost have been if he got to his other intended victims while police were chasing shadows in the Free State? Having heard the TV interview with one of the Modimolle officers - He didn't look capable of finding his own car ...

  • Eduard - 2012-01-15 15:58

    Enough about this guy now. We get it!!!!!!

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-01-15 16:16

    If they did their job when he shot that old lady a few years back none of this would be necessary.

  • Mabs - 2012-01-15 16:19

    Lack of training and or lack of experience by rapid promotions?

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-15 16:36

    Will somebody PLEASE teach the police to read and write? This new deployment of cadres does not work!!! I will say it again: if the public does not hand the suspect to the police on a platter, no crime will be solved!!!

  • Grant - 2012-01-15 16:43

    I'll post again : kotze is insane and it's a pity he can't be hanged to put him out of his misery. @Eduard & Max People are still interested in the case or else there would not be so many comments on every thread day after day. The man was married 4 times. Why did the women not check him out first? What about the womens' families? I know my daughter or ex wife are interested in a man, I and my sons check the guy out.

  • jmbentse - 2012-01-15 16:48

    Some Police are just occuppying the possitions, they don't realy get the meaning of being a police officer

  • jmbentse - 2012-01-15 16:54

    God help these poor cops

  • Nkosinathi - 2012-01-15 17:06

    Kotzé deserve death penalty nothing less. Keeping him in jail is a waste of tax payer monies that can be channeled in assisting the woman who was molested by rogue animals.

      George - 2012-01-16 05:25

      I agree, and let all the others who committed similar or worse crimes also receive the death penalty.

  • Francois - 2012-01-15 17:14

    Hand him over, into the arms of "Madame Guillotine", i always say!

  • Carol - 2012-01-15 17:37

    What's the bet he will plead "temporary insanity" & get off ?

  • Phill - 2012-01-15 18:34

    Poor Kotze. He probably is not politically connected nor is he a presidential material. He'd by now be free like Shaick and Zuma. A lesson to Kotze: CRIME DOES NOT ALWAYS PAY unlike some who committed crime and won gholf equipment and the presidential post respoectively. May he literally rot in jail for these heinous crimes.

  • Dino - 2012-01-15 19:03

    Well done to saps. Its weird how the media always reports on negatives. But i guess they r just trying to get the papers off the shelves.

      tdupreez1 - 2012-01-16 07:04

      HAHAHA, as someone staying in Modimolle, they deserve this article, they have absolutely no clue of what they are doing, believe me, I have seen them in action, it is a laughing matter!!!!!

  • Adrian - 2012-01-15 22:34

    Police incompetence exposed once again. Now for a similar display by the Judiciary? Lets see.

      Tebza - 2012-01-16 05:24

      instead of barking against your uncle monster you keep on insulting the police. Kotze is arrested, n what exactly do you guyz want

      George - 2012-01-16 05:27

      Tebza, we would also like them to arrest the rapists, baby killers and hijacking murderers, is that ok?

  • phillip.havenga - 2012-01-15 23:34

    I don't have words to articulate how utterly disgusted I am at this degenerate piece of filth. This man, this thing should be dropped down a mine shaft and left for dead.

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-16 09:16

    'City Press has learned that after a court order was obtained last week to trace Kotzé’s cellphone signal, the police apparently traced an 071 number instead of Kotzé’s 074 number. ' SERIOUSLY!? No wonder criminals are always getting away...

  • cdevillierszandberg - 2012-01-16 11:41

    O please now that they have got Kotze i beg the just not jus to give them five years in jail. this was a brutal crime from wich i say is a pitty there is no death penelty in south africa. these people must be abanded from society !!!!!!

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