Team to work with Reiger Park community

2014-11-25 05:23
Men queue to attend the International Men's Day campaign in Reiger Park in Johannesburg. (Sapa)

Men queue to attend the International Men's Day campaign in Reiger Park in Johannesburg. (Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura, together with a multi-disciplinary team, will work with the Reiger Park community to deal with various issues plaguing the area in the East Rand.

On Monday, the team, consisting of Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and Gauteng police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba, met with the families of three children murdered in the area.

The reason for the visits, said Makhura, was to brief the families on the status of the investigation into their children's deaths.

Further, to allow them to provide the team with information that might be useful in their investigations.

"It is important to the affected families because they are victims and can share important information," said the Gauteng premier.

Makhura also made a pledge to the families that justice would be served regarding their children's death.

"Child killers will be brought to book and will face the law," he said.

Makhura was speaking outside the family home of Siphamandla Madikane, in the Ramaphosa settlement, near Reiger Park.

The 10-year-old's half naked body was found by a passer-by in a mine dump in November last year.

Makhura also met with the family of three-year-old Cuburne Lavone van Wyk in Ramaphosa.

The three-year-old's burnt body was also found at a mine dump in August.

His alleged killer Nathaniel Katlego Mpoku, 25, appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court on 31 October. The case was postponed to 10 December.

Earlier on Monday, the team also met with the family of Taegrin Morris in Delmore Gardens, near Reiger Park.

The four-year-old was killed when his parents' Volkswagen Golf was hijacked in Reiger Park in July.

The boy was caught in his seatbelt and was dragged along the road as the hijackers drove off. The car was later abandoned.

Earlier in November, the Boksburg Magistrate's Court withdrew all charges against Thamsanqa Twala, who had been accused of involvement in the death of the child.

Possibility that cases are linked

Makhura and the team then went to the local hall, where they held a briefing with community members.

Mothiba announced at the meeting, given the similarities in the Van Wyk and Madikane cases, police were investigating the possibility that the two cases were linked.

"We are of the opinion that the same person was involved in the two cases and we are conducting our investigation to confirm this," said Mothiba.

During the meeting, community members reported various issues to the team, including drug dealing, tavern operating hours in the area, the functioning of clinics, and taxi violence.

The absence of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials at community meetings, and alleged corruption within the justice system was raised several times.

A community leader and member of the local anti-drug campaign told the team that cases at the Boksburg Magistrate's Court were often struck off the roll or charges were withdrawn against suspects.

"We feel that the justice system is buggered," said the community leader.

"We are glad that the team is here and that police do there work but we want someone from the NPA to come explain."

The NPA came under fire from police last week when charges against Twala were withdrawn.

On Wednesday, Mothiba told reporters on the sidelines of an event marking International Men's Day in Reiger Park, that the prosecutor who withdrew charges against Twala must explain the decision.

Mothiba said the senior prosecutor had stated the charges were withdrawn because police had not followed procedure. It was not clear which procedures were not followed.

He said Morris's mother Chantel was the only witness in the case and had identified Twala during an identity parade.

"The police did their job. We picked the best detectives for this case. The prosecutor was happy after the first appearance in court," Mothiba said at the time.

Later on Wednesday, NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube told Sapa the police's identification parade did not follow the correct procedures.

Also, there was little other evidence connecting the man to the botched hijacking that left the young boy dead.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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