Five men who stood trial in the Northern Cape High Court for the murder of Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Johannes Baatjies (49) and his business partner in 2016 have been found guilty for murder.
Richard Hasane (36), Richard Magawu (32), Matthews Legodi (52), Frank Baxane (34) and Charles Mpondomisa (42) were all found guilty on two counts of murder. Baxane and Mpondomisa were also slapped for illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition. The five are expected to be sentenced between 24 and 26 June 2020.
Baaitjies, a former Danielskuil ward councillor in the Kgatelopele municipality, was found dead on the main road between Danielskuil and Postmasburg in August 2016. He had been shot twice in the head and once in the torso. At the time of his death, he was with his friend Jeffrey Nose who also was shot in the face and unfortunately passed on seven days after the fateful incident.
Baaitjies was lured to a business meeting. He took along his business associate and friend Nose with him. On their arrival they were ambushed and Baaitjies suffered three fatal gunshot wounds. He was also dragged with a vehicle. Nose was shot while seated in a bakkie and was transported to Kimberley hospital where he succumbed due to his injuries.
The Hawks Serious Organise Crime were charged with investigating the matter and within 48 hours, Magawu was arrested. Further investigations led to the arrest of Paullis Mvuleni Mgcera (50), Mpondomisa, Legodi, Hasana (33) and Baxane were arrested in September and October respectively the same year.
Before the start of the trial in 2018 Mcgwera died and his case was withdrawn as the evidence against him had become circumstantial. Several attempts by the accused to apply for bail proved fruitless until their conviction this month on Tuesday.
The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Kholekile Galawe, has commended the team for their diligent effort in ensuring that the accused are eventually brought to book.
“We commend the work of the investigating team and the untiring efforts of the prosecutors. The conviction is highly commendable and sends a clear messages that any form of murder irrespective of political affiliation will not be tolerated in the Northern Cape. We are committed to serve the public with integrity, impartiality, without fear, favour and prejudice,” said Major General Galawe.