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Killers want sentencing to proceed without further delays


“The accused have already been convicted and delays are adding to the length of their incarceration.”

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TWO of the five men found guilty in the Baatjies murder trial intend to request for sentencing to proceed in the absence of co-accused Zoniselo Richard Magawu following a string of delays. 

DA ward councillor Johannes Baatjies and a family friend, Shuping Jeffrey Nouse, were both shot execution style on a road between Groenwater and Postmasburg in 2016. 

A social worker from Postmasburg was due to present victim impact reports to the court when the case had to be postponed in the Northern Cape High Court after two of the accused indicated that they felt ill on Wednesday. 

The five accused – Richard Hasane, Tshame Frank Baxane, Zoniselo Richard Magawu, Thompson Mncedisi Mphondomisa and Matthews Legodu – appeared in the Northern Cape High Court on Wednesday for pre-sentencing arguments.

The legal representative for Magawu, Obatilhe Morake, indicated that his client, who was the only accused to take the stand on Wednesday, had gone down to the holding cells after he had testified. 

Magawu had earlier told the court that the accused were expected to buy their own food when they came to court. 

Morake explained that after Magawu, who is a diabetic, took the stand he felt dizzy and had to eat something.

After the lunch break, the legal representative for Legodu, Shereen Easthorpe, also stated that her client had not eaten for the entire day and needed to take his insulin as he was not feeling well.

“My client related that he is not able to eat the meals in prison as it is not in accordance with his dietary requirements. He also has to eat before he takes his medication,” said Easthorpe.

She added that inmates were not permitted to accept food from family members in terms of the recent Covid-19 regulations implemented by the Department of Correctional Services. 

The legal representative for Hasane, advocate Willie Els, stated that he intended to apply for an application for sentencing to proceed without some of the accused if there were any further delays. 

The legal representative for Mphondomisa, Heinrich Steynberg, added that he was ready to address the court and was also considering submitting an application to prevent any more undue delays. 

“The accused have already been convicted and delays are adding to the length of their incarceration.” 

Senior State advocate Hannes Cloete stated that according to the policies of the Department of Correctional Service, no accused person was allowed to receive food parcels in court due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He agreed to read the victim impact reports into the record, in the absence of the social worker, on Thursday. 

He explained that the social worker was scheduled to travel back home on Wednesday.