Judgment postponed in Kraaifontein cop killing case

2015-10-02 19:21
The two men accused of murdering police officer Rozelle Witbooi, Mbongiseni Sithelo and Sicelo Kwayimani. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

The two men accused of murdering police officer Rozelle Witbooi, Mbongiseni Sithelo and Sicelo Kwayimani. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – Two men accused of killing a Cape Town constable will have to wait until next week to hear if the Western Cape High Court finds them guilty.

Acting Judge Sakkie Maartens was expected to hand down judgment on Friday against Mbongiseni Sithelo and Sicelo Kwayimani, both 29.

However, he said he would only be able to finalise the judgment on Wednesday due to factors beyond his control.

Courtroom 3 was packed with high-ranking police officials and journalists.

The men have pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and armed robbery with aggravating circumstances. 

Constable Rozelle Witbooi, 30, was shot in the head after she and her colleague responded to an alert about a robbery on a vegetable farm on the outskirts of Kraaifontein last February.

A gang of men targeted the farm and stole a phone, laptop and other items from the farmhouse worth about R30 000.

Locked in cold room

Twelve employees, who were cleaning and packing vegetables in a nearby storeroom, were robbed of their phones.

They were then locked in a walk-in cold room, not in use at the time, for up to an hour.

Maartens said the farmer had testified to being bound with cable ties.

He testified he broke free and phoned his father, who was at a nearby dam, to report the robbery.

His father approached Witbooi and a colleague, who were taking a break in a marked vehicle close to him.

A shoot-out occurred when the officers confronted two men at an intersection about a kilometre away from the farm.

Both Sithelo and Kwayimani were shot.

'Don't know each other from bar of soap'

Sithelo was rendered immobile, but Kwayimani fled the scene and was only found later.

Maartens said the men denied setting foot on the farm or being in possession of firearms and ammunition.

“According to the accused, they happened to be innocent passers-by at the crossing when the shots were fired. The accused maintained that they did not know each other from a bar of soap.”

The acting judge said the projectile that killed the officer was never recovered.

“None of the firearms at the scene could therefore be linked to the killing.”

Charles Ndlovu, a third man linked to the robbery charges, was arrested last month.

Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  crime

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