Home / News / Was Sammy’s killer mad?

Was Sammy’s killer mad?

Slain Mpumalanga culture, sports and recreation spokesman Sammy Mpatlanyane’s murder trial has been postponed for two months after the key suspect in the case was sent for mental evaluation this week.
The three accused, Mozambican Nito Mashava, 28, Tanzanian Omary Issa, 29, and Congolese Tupac “Abu” Ntumba, appeared for trial in the Nelspruit circuit of the North Gauteng high court on Tuesday, where the case was postponed.
The postponement came after newly-appointed legal aid lawyer, only known as JL Kgokane, told the court that after interviewing Mashava, he suspected that he was not mentally fit to stand trial.
“When I talked to Mashava I sensed that before the case goes to trial he needs to be checked mentally in order (for the court) to trust whatever he says,” Kgokane told the court.
Mashava, Issa and Ntumba, who were accompanied by fully armed members of the Tactical Response Team, were not asked to plead to charges of murder, possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition and conspiracy to commit murder.
First accused, Mashava, was arrested on April 6 2011 in Mbombela while the second suspect Issa, who is a street vendor who sold sweets and manned a public phone, was arrested at his business site in the Mbombela CBD on April 7.
The third suspect, Ntumba, was arrested on July 3 at Pienaar and was shot in both legs during his arrest.
After a number of postponements, their trial was scheduled to start on Monday but was postponed to Tuesday after the accused told the court that they no longer had money to pay their lawyer.
They were given application forms to apply for a state-appointed lawyer, who then asked that Mashava be sent for mental evaluation.
The three were remanded in custody and their case was postponed to April 23 for a doctor’s report.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga told African Eye News Service that the case would depend on the outcome of Mashava’s mental evaluation.
“In this case we cannot speculate, but the truth is, if the mental health evaluation says he’s mentally fit to stand trial, the trial will proceed and if it says the accused is mentally unfit then that will mean the trial will not continue,” said Mhaga.
Mpatlanyane was gunned down on January 10, 2010 at his home in Mbombela. At the time, Mpatlanyane’s murder was linked to alleged cover-ups of tender fraud in Mpumalanga’s 2010 stadium. During Mashava and Issa’s bail application police investigator and member of the organised crime unit Captain Sunnyboy Moloko told the court that the police had records to prove that meetings were held in which eight people planned the murder.
Moloko also said that in the eight people there are two South Africans who are now at large.
Mpatlanyane’s murder is one of Mpumalanga’s infamous “January Murders”.
The NPA has confirmed that the January Murders were politically motivated and needed special_attention. The murders include those of Mpatlanyane, Mbombela local municipality speaker Jimmy Mohlala and ANC chief whip in the Ehlanzeni district municipality Johan Ndlovu. All three men were murdered in the month of January since 2009.
Four people who were accused of murdering Mohlala were acquitted last month because the state had no enough evidence, while one suspect on the Ndlovu case, Life Khoza has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he confessed to the murder.
However Khoza told the court during his trial that his other co-accused were not with him during the murder.
The killings have also caught the attention of suspended national police Commissioner Bheki Cele who_announced on January 14 last year that he had appointed a team of 12 highly trained officers from four provinces to get to the bottom of the murders.

Leave a Reply


Check Also

Mpumalanga attorney arrested for theft

MPUMALANGA – A Mpumalanga Attorney Themba Daniel Mabunda (48) has been arrested ...