Karabo Mokoena's alleged killer emotionless as bail is denied

2017-06-30 17:50
Mokoena's mother, Agnes Lolo Mokoena outside the Johannesburg Magistrates Court. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

Mokoena's mother, Agnes Lolo Mokoena outside the Johannesburg Magistrates Court. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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Johannesburg - Shrieks of excitement could be heard and tears of relief seen as Sandile Mantsoe, accused of murdering Karabo Mokoena, was denied bail in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Magistrate Carlo Labuschagne said that Mantsoe had failed to prove exceptional or personal circumstances permitting his release on bail.

Labuschagne said that the court was satisfied that the state showed prima facie evidence that the matter was a premeditated murder.

"The applicant did not overcome the onus placed on him to remove burden of proof by proving that exceptional or personal circumstances exist, and without satisfying this, he couldn't move on to prove the second leg of the test which states that his release on bail should be in the interests of justice".

After the hearing, Mantsoe's mother looked over at the Mokoena family in the gallery, before putting her head down.

Mokoena's older sister, Bontle, and a friend, Stephy Leong, became emotional as the court heard that Mantsoe would be remanded in custody until his appearance again on July 28 when the director of public prosecutions is set to give direction on the case.

Mantsoe, however, did not flinch as he stared directly at the magistrate, occasionally clenching his jaw.

Mantsoe was appearing on charges of obstructing the administration of justice and premeditated murder for allegedly killing Mokoena, his 22-year-old ex-lover, and disposing of her body by burning her beyond recognition in an open veld in Lyndhurst.

He was in an on and off relationship with Mokoena since October 2016 and was the last person to be seen with her on camera footage from his Sandton apartment on April 27 – the day she went missing.

He had allegedly picked up her up at her home in Diepkloof, Soweto, and taken her to his home in Sandton, Johannesburg.

They spent April 28 together, until late afternoon when he rushed off to a business meeting, returning around 18:00.

He submitted that he found her lying motionless and when he checked for a pulse, there wasn’t one. He was originally arrested for kidnapping.

On the charge of defeating the administration of justice, he admitted that he committed the offence by disposing of the body.

The father of three said he panicked as he was already painted as an abuser, even though it was allegedly the other way around.

He did not go into further detail about these allegations.

"If I had killed her, people would have heard as I live in a small complex," said Mantsoe in his bail application, saying that he had found her dead in his apartment, and merely disposed the body to get rid of the evidence so he wouldn’t be traced by the police.

"I put her in the dustbin and in my boot. I burnt her body using a tyre, swimming pool acid and petroleum. I knew I should've called the cops, but I wasn't thinking straight," he said earlier in May.

The investigating officer attested that it was not clear if Mokoena was alive or dead when she was burnt as the post mortem results were still outstanding.

He said that Mantsoe had a history of abuse, and the two had done a blood ritual to seal a lasting bond between them so that Mantsoe’s business could be successful.

He is self-employed

After a break up in April, Mantsoe’s business started suffering, and he sacrificed her to break a jinx, said the investigating officer, adding that this was the motive for the crime.

Labuschagne said that Mantsoe put it as a possibility that Mokoena had committed suicide, but apart from the allegation that she was suicidal, provided no further evidence that this was the case, adding that this onus was on him.

In his bail application, Mantsoe alleged that Mokoena had been suicidal and her family was aware of this.

He said she even went as far as cutting her wrists due to her troubled past with men, and a distant relationship with her father. 

"I think she finally succeeded in taking her own life, as she had previously tried to commit suicide," Mantsoe said, claiming that Mokoena had taken a handful of pills and that she had been saved by himself, and a security guard.

He said he was devastated by the loss of Mokoena. 

But Labuschagne also said that Mantsoe had contradicted his initial submission about cooperating with police and helping them with information when he said, in his replying affidavit, that he had made the submissions under duress as there were threats made against him by a police officer at the Sandton police station.

The defence argued that the exceptional circumstance was that none of the evidence pointed to the fact that the suspect was the one who committed the murder, was implicated in the murder, or was there when it took place.

The state's John Metswamere described Mantsoe as smart and intelligent, quoting from case law that an accused facing a schedule six offence who was granted bail was more likely to abscond from their trial.

He said that Mantsoe was resourceful, and a millionaire at 27, meaning he had the means to skip the trial. 

The defence's Victor Simelane argued that the State was wavering between murder and defeating the ends of justice.

"The State is currently unsure of its own case and it's an exceptional circumstance which should permit the court to release the suspect on bail," argued Simelane.

Mantsoe has been married for three years but became estranged from his wife in September 2016.

The court accepted that he is not the primary caregiver of the children as there was no further information about his personal responsibilities. 

He will appear in court again on July 28.

Read more on:    karabo mokoena  |  johannesburg  |  courts

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