Ninety outstanding crime dockets in Knysna area says Police
Farm attack case reopened -- Thu, 28 July 2011 Harkerville resident, Jan du Toit, points to where one of the bullets that the attackers fired at him struck. "Had they hit me, I would have been shot either in my face, chin or throat." The Du Toits and some of their neighbours have since beefed up their security with electrical fencing and guard dogs, and they are armed at all times. "I never thought I would have to live this way. Its very sad," says Du Toit. KNYSNA NEWS - A farm attack case, which was thrown out of court on Tuesday, July 5, due to what appears to be an all too common lapse of communication between the police and the state, as well as possible negligence, has been reopened and placed back on the roll at court for Monday, July 25.
"I was determined not to just leave it after waiting six years to get this matter to court," says Jan du Toit of the Harkerville district.
In 2005 Jan and his wife, Kobie, were attacked at their home by four unknown, armed men. After years of various delays, when the case finally came before court earlier this month, the Du Toits and the greater Harkerville community were at wits end when it was thrown out due to what appears to be gross negligence. Firstly, the state had apparently neglected to subpoena a key witness and secondly, the investigating officer, WO John Nomdoe, was not present in court. (He was on holiday in Jamaica.)
The state prosecutor, Sam Mpambani of George, however, says that he sent out the subpoenas on May 25 and that as the subpoenas are processed through the system back to the original investigating officer (in this case Nomdoe) it is the responsibility of that officer to make sure the subpoenas are served and the witnesses warned to appear in court on the specific date.
In his defence, Nomdoe says that at their last court appearance for the Du Toit-case, he had discussed his leave with the then prosecutor, Mpambani.
"He assured me that it would not be a problem and that they would go ahead and question the witnesses which they had so long. I left completely unaware that the case would be passed on to another prosecutor and that he would apparently not be informed of the arrangement I had made with the first prosecutor," said Nomdoe.
Nomdoe adds that on his return from Jamaica, he was perplexed to find out that the Du Toit-case had been thrown out.
"My brother and I had planned and saved for two years to go on holiday, long before the court date was once again moved," he said.
Mpambani strongly denies any such arrangements. "He (Nomdoe) is talking nonsense. I’m getting tired and angry that I have to take the blame for other people not doing what they are suppose to. I have a paper trail to prove that I sent the notice in May already. Why weren’t the other witnesses who were also suppose to be there, not there? This is not my job. The investigating officer needs to make sure the subpoenas are served and if he is away on holiday, arrangements need to be made for another officer to do it, especially in a priority case such as this," said Mpambani.
As the Du Toit’s level of frustration increased over the years, they made an appeal to higher authorities to proceed with their case, with only minimal success.
"In the six years since this case has dragged on, the investigating officer has not once taken the initiative to contact me via a phone call or otherwise. He merely responds to my persistent enquiries," explained Du Toit.
Du Toit further pointed out several instances where he believes the police failed. He believes police failed to collect or handle, with appropriate care, items left behind by the suspects which were picked up by the police without fingerprints first being lifted off them. These he feels could have formed a vital part of the investigation of the original crime scene.
"I was only called out to the Du Toits the day after [the attack] happened, and yes, I regrettably agree that the evidence was possibly not dealt with as carefully as should have been by the officers who first responded when it had just taken place. I believe the forensic unit of George was there," Nomdoe. (The Du Toits say no forensic unit ever visited them, only a police photographer.)
NINETY CRIME DOCKETS IN HIS HANDS ALONE"
Nomdoe says that he is currently handling 90 dockets, as well as being the head of the task team for home burglaries. The team’s area extends from the tollgates separating the Eastern and Western Cape to the Garden of Eden border between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
"The fact that we don’t always communicate with the people involved in each case, does not mean we are not working on their specific investigation. I had asked WO Nicky Maritz, who is involved with the Farm Watch for Harkerville, to communicate with the Du Toits and keep them up to date."
The Du Toits eventually learned that the four attackers were captured in the Eastern Cape by a police squad from Port Elizabeth for other armed robberies, as well as one in which a woman was allegedly raped and robbed. From other charges brought against them it would appear that they had had a free reign of terror from Harkerville to Jeffrey’s Bay and Humansdorp. (In Humansdorp they were charged with four other farm attacks.)
Says Nomdoe: "The suspects were arrested in Qolweni and questioned. Only one could be linked with the Du Toit-case. All four accused were nonetheless sentenced to 25 years in the Jeffrey’s Bay cases and because those cases took long to be trailed, I had no alternative to wait for those cases to run their course before I could go after the one suspect we wanted for the Du Toit-case."
The suspect who appeared in Knysna’s court on Monday, July 25 was Luvuyou Elvis Mkwelo on the charge of attempted murder. The next court appearance is set for August 23 in Knysna.
PETER AND PADDY DODDS, 2004: MURDERED, Harkerville Knysna district:
Over the past few years, the Harkerville district has had more than its share of heinous crimes, including the murder of Peter and Paddy Dodds in 2004, the murder of Willie and Julie le Roux near Kranshoek in 2009 and the murder of 78-year-old Wittedrift librarian Johanna Blignault, who was stabbed to death by teenagers, also in 2009. Nomdoe was the investigating officer in these case and was instrumental in getting several of the accused behind bars.
ARTIKEL: ANOESCHKA VON MECK, GEORGE HERALD-JOERNALIS