By Thupeyo Muleya
The case in which a 25-year-old South African man is accused of trafficking four Zimbabwean illegal immigrants to the neighbouring country whom he later held hostage at his house in Polokwane city has been set for January 19 for formal bail application.
Raymond Sithole of Chebeng Village in Seshego area was arrested on January 3 by South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) following a tip off.
Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo province Captain Matimba Maluleke said Sithole illegally smuggled his victims aged between 15 and 20 into the neighbouring country after promising them good jobs.
He said the four were being kept under key and lock at Sithole’s house and he would in some instances send them to steal and do other jobs without payment.
“The suspect appeared at the Seshego Magistrates’ Court, where he was further remanded in custody to January 19 for formal bail application,” said Capt Matimba.
“He is facing charges of human trafficking.
“The four victims were allegedly kept under key and lock after being smuggled into South Africa with false promises of good jobs and better lives here. In some cases, the suspect would severely assault them if they failed to comply with his orders.”
Capt Maluleke said the man was arrested by a Hawks reaction team after it was alerted to the allegedly exploitation of the Zimbabweans.
The incident comes a few weeks after three Zimbabwean cross-border transporters were jailed for 632 years by a South African High Court after they were convicted on 62 charges ranging from murder, robbery, extortion and rape, among other violent crimes they perpetrated in that country.
The trio was found guilty following a fully contested trial at the South Gauteng High Court (Palm Ridge).
Jaheni ‘Satan’ Luphahla (28) of Old Lobengula in Bulawayo and Phathumuzi ‘KK’ Sibanda (27) of Emakhandeni in Bulawayo and Madida Petition Sicelo (30) alias ‘Sister’ are part of a gang that had unleashed a reign of terror on Zimbabweans visiting that country.
Luphahla earned himself eight life sentences and another 632 years behind bars for killing two women and raping, robbing and assaulting several others.
His brother Sibanda will serve seven life sentences for the same crimes.
Sicelo was condemned to two life sentences and 692 years behind bars and is also reported to be the mastermind of all the rape cases against the kidnapped victims.
Meanwhile, a Harare man recently strangled his wife after he stumbled on love messages between her and a suspected lover, reports Freeman Razemba.
Police are withholding the 32-year-old suspect’s name.
The man, who had allegedly ditched his 29-year-old wife in 2014 and eloped with another woman to South Africa, returned to Zimbabwe this month.
The man is said to have found love messages in his wife’s phone on Wednesday last week and an argument ensued.
The man then killed his wife through strangling. Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident yesterday.
“The man who had arrived from South Africa was arrested after he confessed to the murder incident to some relatives and is assisting police with investigations,”she said.
“The accused had ditched the deceased in 2014 and eloped with another woman to South Africa.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said cases of murder were on the rise. In Bulawayo, an 18-year-old man was fatally assaulted by his colleague recently following a misunderstanding over opaque beer.
He was struck with a cue on the head. Snr Asst Comm Charamba said they were also investigating a case in which a 13-year-old boy was found dead in Murewa with missing limbs.
“The boy, who was missing since December 25, 2016 after a heavy down- pour in the area, was found trapped along Mutorahuku River,” she said. The Herald