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Notorious Rolex gangsters found guilty

Johannesburg – Three suspected members of the infamous Rolex Gang have been found guilty on nine charges of robbery with aggravated circumstances, one of murder and three of attempted murder.

Betha Mphikeleni, Sipho Mabundla and George Mulaudzi were initially suspected of committing 12 robberies over six weeks in 2014 as part of the Rolex Gang, tracking down people who had recently purchased highly valuable items.

However, on Wednesday in the high court sitting in Palm Ridge, Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa found the trio guilty of nine armed robberies and the murder of their accomplice.

Mphikeleni, Mabundla and Mulaudzi were arrested on April 22, 2014 after a dramatic high-speed chase and shootout with police officer Derek Bruce Macintosh.

During the gunfight, the driver of their vehicle, Clifford Ngcobo, was killed, probably by a bullet fired by one of his cohorts.

Judge Mngqibisa said that alongside forensic analysis clearing Macintosh of being responsible for Ngcobo’s death, the fact that the four men had participated in the shootout meant they all knew one of them could be killed. Because of this, she found the trio all guilty of murder dolus eventualis, for indirectly killing Ngcobo through their behaviour.

The 12 armed robberies that formed the basis of the State’s case involved the three men allegedly using various getaway vehicles to rob their suspects, a white BMW, a Mercedes-Benz and a Chevrolet Lumina.

While forensic evidence had connected them to the incidents using the Mercedes and the Lumina, the judge was unconvinced the State had proved the men’s connection to the three robberies involving the BMW.

The three were also found guilty of two charges of malicious damage to property, two counts of unlawful possession of firearms and one of unlawful possession of ammunition.

Sentencing will begin on July 25.

LIST OF INCIDENTS:

* March 28 to April 22, 2014: Betha Mphikeleni, Sipho Mabundla and George Mulaudzi executed nine armed robberies.

* March 28, 2014: Carine Dorothea Walker is almost killed near Glenvista by suspects – believed to be the same men – wearing balaclavas in a white Mercedes. When she tried to escape, they opened fired at her car.

* April 1, 2014: Laurent Belle-garde is hijacked in Tulisa Park by men with balaclavas.

* April 3, 2014: Tamsin Scheepers and Julian Kruger are robbed near Media City in Sandton.

* April 8, 2014: Yvonne Gutsche is robbed near Baker Street in Rosebank.

* April 10, 2014: Lisa Anne Niemann is robbed near the Mio Palazzo Complex in Sunninghill.

* April 11, 2014: Daniel Stephen is robbed near the Stoneridge Shopping Centre.

* April 17, 2014: Lance O’Leary is robbed near the Tangiers Complex in Oaklands.

* April 22, 2014: Christine Close is robbed in Rivonia Road in Sandown by armed men.

The Star

Most wanted criminal nabbed in Hillbrow

JOBURG – Joint police operation acts on tip-off and foils a planned business robbery in Hillbrow.

Gauteng Department of Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane applauded the joint operation conducted by Gauteng Traffic Police, National Crime Intelligence, Gauteng Flying Squad and Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department which led to the arrest of two suspects upon receiving a tip-off from a member of the public about a planned business robbery in Hillbrow.

The law enforcement agencies acted swiftly and spotted a vehicle matching the description in Hillbrow with one male occupant.

After stopping the vehicle and conducting an inspection, the police discovered that the car was reported stolen in the same neighbourhood. According to police, the suspect was then taken to his house where nine AK47 rounds and 20 .303 rifle rounds were recovered.

The suspect voluntarily pointed out his accomplice who resides in Melville where a further 14 9mm rounds were found in his possession.

The suspects were detained at Brixton and Hilbrow police stations, respectively.

They were charged with unlawful possession of ammunition, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a fake identity document. The second suspect, who is a most-wanted criminal, was linked to about 20 cases of business robberies and armed robberies in and outside Gauteng.

Police also linked this suspect to bank robberies in Vosloorus and Johannesburg Central, an attempted business robbery and an attempted murder in Bramley.

Nkosi-Malobane said, “I applaud the whistle-blower who assisted in the arrest of the most-wanted suspect for a spate of business robberies in and outside Gauteng. Community intelligence is indeed key in the fight against crime. I am hopeful that the arrest of these two suspects will restore business confidence in the affected areas.”

Nkosi-Malobane also appealed to the criminal justice system not to grant them bail and to ensure that they face the full might of the law. “I also appeal to the citizens of Gauteng to assist law enforcement agencies in rooting out these brazen and callous criminals from our society,” she said.

Man up for murder after shooting intruder

The Polokwane man awoke to find an intruder and an accomplice in his house, trying to rob him.

A Polokwane man is facing a charge of murder after he allegedly tried to protect himself and his property from intruders on Thursday last week.

Westenburg police spokesperson, Captain Mohlaka Mashiane said the man was taking a nap when he was woken by a noise, Capricorn Review reported.

The man went to investigate and found two men in his house, trying to rob him.

“An argument ensued between the resident and intruders and there was a struggle during which one of the intruders was shot and killed.

“The other intruder fled the scene,” Mashiane said.

He said the matter was still being investigated; while no case of attempted robbery has been opened, one of murder was opened.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said there had been several attempted burglaries in the area in recent times, with no one having been apprehended so far.

However, Mashiane said police and community policing forum patrols have been stepped up lately.

– Caxton News Service

Five minute burglary caught on camera in Edenvale

Four burglars broke into a house in Edenvale last week and took under five minutes to steal valuables and electronics.

On CCTV footage of the incident, the men can been seen arriving at the property after 3pm on 20 March in a red Polo.

One of the burglars exits the car and presses the intercom button several times to establish if the owners were home.

When there is no answer, the robber attempts to manually open the electronic gate by tampering with the gate motor.

Eventually the men gained entry of the yard by using a crowbar to lift the gate off its rail

The burglars enter the house and are seen loading the car with television sets and other valuable items.

The men took less than two minutes to take what the needed.

Click here to see the video

Sowetan live

 

Chaos in vehicle licence renewals

Johannesburg – Motorists have not received notifications that their vehicle licence discs are up for renewal because the department of transport didn’t pay its Post Office bills.

This was revealed in Parliament when the DA’s spokesman on transport, Manny de Freitas, asked minister Dipuo Peters why the licence renewal notices were not being sent out. Peters replied that “the delay is due to non-payment of Post Office outstanding fees”.

How to renew your car’s licence disc

De Freitas said he had received many complaints countrywide about the issuing of vehicle licence renewal notices and he had been trying to get an answer about what the problem was – without success, until the reply in Parliament.

“In the meantime, motorists have received fines for driving with expired licence discs, through no fault of their own,” he said.

Spokesman for the Post Office Khulani Qoma said it was not in a position to comment regarding the road transport authorities “as we are currently engaging the department of transport on these matters”.

The Automobile Association has received numerous queries about what steps motorists can take to resolve this issue and described licensing departments as “chaotic” because of the situation.

“Our experience is that the bulk of motorists who should be receiving licence renewal letters are not,” it said.

The association added that there were unnecessary delays without these renewal reminders, because motorists now had to fill in a green renewal document before their application could be processed.

EXTRA PAPERWORK 

The Star visited the licensing department in Langlaagte, Johannesburg, to see if there were any delays in getting licence discs due to the lack of notifications sent out.

The department has a car licence drive-through, which is meant to make the process quick and easy.

However, every car we saw driving through was obliged to stop so that the driver could get out and fill in the green renewal forms, making the process far from quick.

The extra paperwork also suited the touts who were hanging around and offering to help motorists fill in the extra documents, at a fee. Many motorists, who had not brought photocopies of their paperwork, had to walk across Main Reef Road and pay for copies of their ID books to be made.

“This is causing a lot of delay,” said one woman, who, after filling in all the forms, was told to go to another building to complete the process.

Another man said his friend had to get his licence renewed but could not come himself because of the extra time it took, so he had offered to come and do it for him.

“I thought the Post Office was on strike, and that’s why we didn’t get the notifications,” the man said.

‘EXCESSIVE DELAYS’

The AA said the Post Office had informed them that there had been incidents at Post Office branches “where demand for the renewal forms surpassed our supply”.

The AA called for the department of transport to sort out the problem as soon as possible because the excessive delays in renewing vehicle licences could result in a large number of unlicensed cars on the road.

The AA advised motorists to check their licence discs to see when they expire and to take identification and proof of address when going to renew their licence.

Justice Project South Africa chairman Howard Dembovsky said the department of transport needed to pay its bills on time, as it could not expect the public to pay their e-tolls when it itself was behind in its payments.

And they expect motorists to pay their e-tolls.

The Star

New road safety strategy for SA?

Midrand – Minister Dipuo Peters has expressed concern that South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world.

She said the country recorded the highest road death rate of 23.5 per 100 000 people in 2014 when the global average was 17.4 fatalities per 100 000 people.

“Middle-income countries like us record an average of 18.4 fatalities per 100” she said. She was speaking at a national road safety summit at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Saturday.

Zero tolerance … yada, yada, yada

Road safety activists and other transport stakeholders had met to deliberate on how they could contribute towards a reduction of road deaths and accidents. Participants from across the country made inputs on how to develop a new, goal-based road safety strategy that embodied the principle of safety system approach. Their inputs would be incorporated into a national road strategy document which Peters would present to Parliament.

As a participant of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, South Africa has endorsed the global undertaking to save up to 5 million lives and contribute to preventing up to 50 million serious injuries by 2020,” Peters said.

CARNAGE CONTINUES

With the Easter weekend around the corner, Peters issued a stern warning to motorists who did not obey the rules of the road. She said law enforcement would be on high alert for the coming two consecutive long weekends.

The official launch of the Easter season campaign would take place at Menken in Limpopo on March 18.

Weekend crashes included the accident in which two people died, and two were injured in a single car accident on the R513 KwaMhlanga road between Mamelodi and Moloto. In Vanderbijlpark, two Sri Lankan citizens were killed when they were hit by a speeding car on Saturday night.

Retaking driving licences: bad idea

It was alleged that the 26-year-old driver of a new BMW M4 was “travelling at excessive speed” in a 60km/h zone in Vanderbijlpark when he lost control of the car, which overturned, hit a tree, and smashed into the Sri Lankan couple, walking on the pavement, before coming to a rest on the centre island, Sibasa said.

The couple were visiting a friend in South Africa and were walking back from a restaurant to the friend’s home in Vanderbijlpark.

The Star

PIKITUP WORKERS TO CONTINUE STRIKING

JOHANNESBURG – Striking Pikitup workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) say they will continue their unprotected strike this morning, despite a threat by management to dismiss those who don’t arrive for work today.

Municipal workers are entering their third day of protests, demanding better salaries for those who earn R6,000 a month.

Some employees who have been going to work have been intimidated and fear for their safety.

Samwu’s Paul Tlhabang believes Pikitup management is not committed to resolving the strike and bosses are in fact running away from their responsibilities.

“On the issue, whether we are inside or outside, the conditions still remain the same and the economic situation is even worse now.”

Rival union Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union’s (Imatu) Keith Swanepoel says its members are not part of the unprotected strike and have been intimidated.

“It’s only good for the community that our members are able to do their work. We would like to see our members doing work that they’re being paid for.”

The City of Johannesburg says Pikitup operations have still not completely recovered from a two week long illegal strike in December and it will therefore take strong action to stop any more unprotected work stoppages.

EYEWITNESS NEWS

Robbery fears as rocks block N12

Johannesburg – Lenasia residents are worried about the obstacles thrown on the stretch of the N12 between the Golden Highway and Lenasia, apparently by robbers and hijackers targeting unsuspecting motorists.

The community in the south of Joburg is appealing for more police visibility in the area. Various objects, including rocks, boulders and debris, are being used to block the road.

“When motorist get out of their cars to remove these obstacles, it provides a perfect opportunity for robbers and hijackers. We call for help from authorities,” said community leader Khalil Mohamed yesterday.

How to avoid being hijacked

At the weekend, about 60 residents and members of neighbourhood organisation, Block Watch, offered their vehicles to remove the obstacles.

At the end the clean up, four bakkies and a trailer were filled with rocks. Mohamed, who helped organise the campaign, said they removed objects lined road from the Golden Highway to Samfur Bridge. JMPD spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said the N12 and the N1 were the hotspots for stone throwers.

A considerable number of hijacking incidents were reported on that stretch of the N12, said Mamonyane.

The Star

Third arrest after Rhodes Park horror

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21 December 2015 at 09:08am

Johannesburg – A third suspect has been arrested in connection with the Rhodes Park rape and murders.

A 33-year-old man was nabbed on Friday in Sunnyside Park, Pretoria, according to Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

Two other suspects, aged 22 and 24, were arrested – one in October and the other last month.

“The two men, identified as Edmor Ndlovu and Thabo Nkala, have already been charged and also appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court last week,” Dlamini said.

The third man was expected to appear in the same court on Monday on charges of rape and murder.

All three men are believed to have been part of a gang of 12 who killed two men and raped a woman at Rhodes Park in Kensington on October 17.

At the time, Dlamini said the two men and their wives were walking in the park when they were confronted by a group of men. The suspects allegedly tied up both men and threw them into the dam at the park, where they drowned. One of their wives was raped but the other woman managed to escape.

“It is alleged that one of the suspects was armed with a handgun,” Dlamini said.

“A reward of up to R100 000 will be offered to anyone who comes forward with information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of the other men who police are still looking for,” Dlamini said.

Anyone with information should call Warrant Officer Bruce van der Schyff on 082 651 7769 at all hours.

Information can also be forwarded to Crime Stop at 08600 10111 at all hours.

Beware of thugs spoiling Christmas

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December 14 2015 at 06:28pm
By SAKHILE NDLAZI

Pretoria – It is people’s favorite time of the year with most switching off from work mode and either embarking on their Christmas holiday, shopping or eating out frequently.

With everyone in a jovial mood, December is synonymous with spending and cheerfulness, but that can quickly turn into a nightmare with criminals preying on and lurking around the unsuspecting.

The SA Insurance Crime Bureau has warned that people should be more diligent and more aware than usual at this time of the year.

“People are either more relaxed or not as vigilant at this time of year, or simply in a rush and not paying enough attention to the risk of criminal activity,” said Hugo van Zyl, the bureau’s chief operating officer.

The bureau warned people to be on the lookout for car jamming, fender bender car hijackings, violent house robberies and airport followings.

With “car jamming”, criminals prey on people preoccupied at shopping centres, remote-jamming their vehicles and helping themselves to the contents left in the vehicles.

“Christmas shopping and holiday luggage could be rich pickings. This is an easy and effective opportunity for criminals to relieve you of your valuables,” said Van Zyl.

“In the “fender bender” type of crime, the criminal will cause an accident doing minimal damage to the target’s vehicle. As the victim exits the vehicle the criminal either uses a weapon to take the keys, or simply gets in and drives off.”

“Therefore be aware of your surroundings if you have a fender bender. Remove your keys from the car if you exit the vehicle. If you are not comfortable with the circumstances of an accident and there are no injuries, drive directly to the nearest police station, or a densely-occupied area to try to ensure your safety as far as possible.”

Regarding household security, do not be lax. Ensure that you follow the same security procedures as you normally would during the year. Be aware if your neighbours are away, so that if you hear activity next door you can react appropriately.

Test your alarms and armed response to be prepared.

The bureau and SAPS have noted a distinct upturn in the number of airport followings over the past few months. This is where spotters at the airport identify a target. They may then follow their target home, rob them at gunpoint or in some cases they will use a blue light to stop their target.

“If you are not comfortable stopping for a blue light, then try to proceed to the nearest police station or draw the attention of other law enforcement officers in the area.

“When entering your residence always be aware of possibly being followed. Even if entering a secure estate environment criminals are not scared to use the minute or two that you stop at security to strike,” said Van Zyl.

“All these crimes rely on the victims being distracted, relaxed and generally not being diligent and aware of the situation,” said Van Zyl.

When you are out, or shopping at a mall with children, remember these tips to keep your holidays happy and safe:

*Hold your children’s hand tightly in the parking lots and malls;

*Never leave your children in the car, even if it’s only for a minute;

*If children get lost in a mall they should go to mall security immediately;

*If they need to use the washroom at the mall, go in with them or stand at the door until they come out.