A 35-year-old man has reportedly died after collapsing in the Ga-Rankuwa regional court holding cells.
The now deceased Johannes Jojo Shabangu had pleaded guilty to 14 charges of rape and 11 of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
NPA North West spokesperson Henry Mamothame said Shabangu stood trial in the high court, sitting in the regional court.
“He fell ill and collapsed in a holding cell, while the court was in recess. This was after Judge Andre Peterson received his guilty plea statement and found him guilty on all charges, in accordance to the guilty plea.”
Mamothame said at the time, the court was expected to hear victim impact statements on August 3 ahead of sentencing.
He when Shabangu fell in, the hearing was adjourned to allow him to receive medical attention.
“Shabangu was declared dead by paramedics and a declaration certificate was presented to Judge Andre Peterson.
“He then declared proceedings finalised and ordered the death certificate be filed with the registrar of the high court.”
Peterson further ordered an inquest docket be registered, to determine the cause of death.
Shabangu’s court case emanated from incidents that took place in Winterveldt, in the Odi district, between July 2012 and December 2019, where he together with unknown accomplices, raped and robbed multiple women of their property.
According to Mamothame, “the evidence contained in the indictment indicates that in some instances, Shabangu together with his accomplices, would confront couples coming from places of leisure in the evenings, threaten them with a firearm, beat up the boyfriend, rob them of their belongings and subsequently take turns to rape the women”.
He said the group would also accost a group of women and rob them before picking one of them to rape.
“The youngest of their victims was 14 years of age and her ordeal took place in June 2015.
“In some instances, it emerged that they would break into homes and apply the same modus operandi.”
Mamothame said Shabangu, in his guilty plea statement, which was read by his attorney, took responsibility for all the charges he was facing and asked for forgiveness from his victims.
North West director of public prosecutions Dr Rachel Makhari together with provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Sello Kwena lauded Advocate Nangomso Goloda and Sergeant Molwantoa Rapakgadi for their collaboration in ensuring a successful conviction, despite the unfortunate passing of the accused before sentencing.
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