Killers, abusers to pay the price
Violent, dark, even psychopathic side of SA society exposed in courts.
Louisa Koekemoer accused alongside her husband, Kobus Koeokemoer, for killing her three-year-old daughter Poppie van der Merwe, is seen in the Pretoria High Court during the trail in October 2017. Picture: Jacques Nelles
Several criminal trials involving the killing, abuse and exploitation of women and children will resume in the High Court in Pretoria over the next few months.
Cynthia Mosupi, 23, and her friend Sharon Gugu Thwala, 24, who in June 2015 kidnapped Letlhabile schoolgirl Boitumelo Dlamini outside her school and then murdered her by dousing her with petrol and setting her alight will be sentenced next week.
The two claimed they only wanted to “frighten” Dlamini to make her stop seeing Mosupi’s ex-boyfriend and that she was accidentally set alight, but the court rejected their version of events.
Early in February, two Nigerian brothers, Obioma Benjamin Abba, 32, and Chinedu Obasi, 38, who ran a brothel from a Sunnyside flat, will be sentenced on two charges of human trafficking and contravening the Immigration Act.
Two former prostitutes testified how the brothers had plied them with drugs and held them captive in the flat, only allowing them to go out at night to sell themselves. They had to hand over everything they earned and were assaulted if they did not toe the line.
Later the same month sentencing proceedings will start in the trial of three-year-old Poppie van der Merwe’s mother, Louisa Koekemoer, 47, and stepfather Kobus Koekemoer, 44. The couple was convicted of murdering the tiny blonde girl and of abusing her and a five-year-old boy for months.
Poppie had already died of severe head injuries caused by blunt force trauma by the time she was taken to a Brits hospital in October 2016. She had old and new injuries all over her body and her hair had been shorn off to the skin.
The two children were severely abused for months before Poppie’s death while the couple lived in the Afrikaner enclave of Orania in the Northern Cape, but none of the community members who knew about the abuse ever reported it to the police.
Pretoria businesswoman Rehithile Matjane, who in April 2015 murdered her sons Alvaro, two, and Keyon’dresix, by shooting them in the head in a deserted spot near the old Wallmansthal defence force base, will be sentenced in March.
The court rejected Matjane’s defence that she was suicidal despite a happy marriage and had acted in a state of sane automatism and involuntarily because of a shortlasting psychotic-depressive episode caused by medication.
The trial of Mark Zinde, 24, who is accused of murdering his mother, TV personality Hope Zinde, in June 2016, and attempting to murder his father, Dr Lebohang Manoto, a few months later, is set to commence in May.
A panel of experts declared Zinde fit to stand trial, saying he was not suffering from any mental disorder after a month of observation at a psychiatric hospital, but his legal representative said they would dispute the report. His trial was postponed so he could be assessed by a private psychiatrist and psychologist.