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How they tracked Piet Els accused

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The cellphone movements of the seven accused in the Piet Els murder trial were the main focus in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday.

The seven accused in the Piet Els murder trial are seen in court. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE CELLPHONE movements of the seven accused in the Piet Els murder trial were the main focus in the Northern Cape High Court on Thursday.

The court heard testimony from Captain Hanlie Conradie, who is an Intelligence Analyst attached to the Crime Intelligence Unit in Kimberley, who analysed the cellphone data of the accused.

The seven accused – Morapedi Rankali, Montlalentwa Qhautse, Lizbeth Ndlala, Oupa Jeffrey Mahomane, Themba Lawrence Maja, Samson Mbokane and Jabulani Wilson Zuma – are accused of the murder of the Kimberley businessman.

Els and his partner were brutally attacked on his farm outside the city during the early hours of January 24, 2018.

The accused are also facing charges of house robbery, housebreaking with the intent to commit robbery and unlawful possession of firearms.

Conradie told the court that the majority of the suspects’ cellphone movements and communication, with the exception of Ndlala, were traced in Kimberley during and after the attack.

She explained the cellphone movement and communication of Zuma with some of the accused.

She said she profiled Zuma’s number and from the analysis found that it was the number that was used to contact some of the accused and that it was registered in a fraud investigation as the contact details of the complainant in that matter.

“The number was registered to Zuma and found that the number was used in the Kimberley area on January 22, 2018,” she said.

Conradie added that data showed that between January 22 and January 24, 2018, the phone movement was traced between the Phuthanang, Mediclinc and the Carter’s Glen towers. The data showed that on January 24, 2018 the phone was in the vicinity of the Carter’s Glen tower which is in the vicinity of the crime scene.”

She said data showed that Zuma communicated with Amos Ralihare, Mahomane, Maja and Mbokane during that time.

Conradie said communication between Zuma and Ralihlare started on January 15, 2018 where several phone calls were made between the two parties.

She added that on January 26, 2018 the data showed that Zuma was no longer in Kimberley.

She further stated that data showed that Zuma made three calls to Mahomane on January 24, 2018.

“There were three calls made by Zuma to Mahomane. Those calls were at 4.25am. 4.44am and 4.49am on that day.”

She said data indicated that communication between Mbokane and Zuma occurred in January, February and March 2018.

She added that there was, however, no data showing any communication between the two parties at the time of the incident on January 24.

Conradie said there was also only one call made between Zuma and Maja and that was when Maja called Zuma on April 14, 2018.

Conradie further stated that the cellphone data retrieved from Mbkane’s number showed that he travelled from Mpumalanga on January 21, 2018 and arrived in Kimberley on January 22, 2018.

“On January 22, 2019 the data showed that Mbokane was in Ipopeng. The number was static in the Kimberley area. There was only one outgoing call recorded from this number. It was further detected that the number communicated with Ralihlare, Mahomane, Maja, Zuma and Ndlala.

“Communication is traced as outgoing as well as incoming calls.The only communication between Mbokane and Ndala was from February 27 2018 until April 2019 with Mbokane making the calls.”

The case continues.

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