It is all hands on deck and boots on the ground as members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Gauteng continue to address the proliferation of serious and violent crimes in the province.
Over a period of four weeks from 10 February to 9 March 2023, detectives from various stations and provincial units have collectively secured over 70 life imprisonment terms with over 1000 years in prison for approximately 70 accused in nearly 80 separate cases.
The charges in these cases include, among others; rape, murder, kidnapping, child neglect, robbery with aggravating circumstances and tampering with essential infrastructure.
Highlights include the sentencing of a 17-year-old accused to 83 years in prison by the Palm Ridge High Court on Friday, 10 March 2023. The accused was found guilty on seven counts that include murder, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
On 1 April 2021 the accused approached a group of teenagers near a shop in Blue Lagoon, Newclare, near Westbury and opened fire on them; two victims were fatally wounded and three others seriously injured.
The accused was 15 years old at the time of the incident. The case was assigned to detective Warrant Officer Phanuel Petlele of the Gauteng Anti-Gang Investigation Unit for further investigation. He meticulously pieced all the available leads together which resulted in a solid case presented in court against the accused. This sentence was handed down days after the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele led a Ministerial Crime Prevention Imbizo in Westbury.
In another unrelated case, on 16 February 2023 the Pretoria North Regional Court sentenced six family members collectively to 28 life imprisonment terms and 118 years in prison on multiple counts of rape, sexual assault, compelled rape and child neglect; the sentences will run concurrently.
The grandfather, grandmother, the grandmother’s daughter and her husband as well as the grandmother’s son and his wife were found guilty for the crimes they committed against three minor children; two boys and a girl.
The case was assigned to Warrant Officer Albertus Pelser, a detective attached to Serial and Electronic Crime Investigations (SECI). SECI is a specialised investigation team within the provincial Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit. Pelser, a seasoned FCS investigation, relentlessly collected all the evidence and statements which resulted in a water-tight case against the six accused.
Provincial Commissioner of Police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela lauded the detectives for continuously securing lengthy sentences in court. “Community members and in particular victims can rest assured that our members are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring perpetrators are brought to book,” said Lt Gen Mawela.