Home News More accused set to be added to Els murder case

More accused set to be added to Els murder case

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“Although I have sympathy with the accused for having spent so much time in custody already, I submit that they can apply for a new bail application.”

RECENT developments in the Piet Els murder case have seen the postponement of the trial of four men in the Northern Cape High Court.

The case against the four accused – Morapeli Rankali, Motlalentwe Qhautse, Thuso Ramoleo and Lebohang Melesi – was postponed to next year at the request of the State prosecutor, Hannes Cloete.

Cloete told Judge Violet Phatshoane that another two accused had been arrested on charges of murder and robbery in connection with the case but added that their case was still in the lower courts and had not been joined to the case against the other four accused.

“A warrant of arrest has also been issued for another accused in Mpumalanga and at this stage we cannot discount the possibility of further arrests. The police are currently following up on several leads.”

Cloete stated that for this reason, the State was not ready to go to trial in the case of the first four accused.

He conceded that the fact that the State was not ready to proceed would constitute new facts. “It is up to the accused and their legal representatives if they want to re-apply for bail based on new facts.”

According to Cloete, certain information regarding the case had come to light about suspects in Mpumalanga in July this year, which had complicated the case further.

Several of the accused have been in custody for a year and nine months already.

“Although I have sympathy with the accused for having spent so much time in custody already, I submit that they can apply for a new bail application.”

It was reported in February this year that a fifth male suspect was arrested in connection with the murder of Els.

Karabo Rankali, 32, was arrested at a house in Donkerhoek, Kimberley, in connection with the murder of Els. A firearm was also confiscated, and he appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court.

A 27-year-old woman was also arrested and charged with possession of suspected stolen goods.

The woman was arrested at a house in Galeshewe and the police found a coin collection, jewellery and car keys that are alleged to belong to the victims.

The woman also appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court.

The four accused who appeared in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday are being charged with murder, rape, housebreaking with the intent to rob (with aggravating circumstances) and the unlawful possession of a firearm, following a brutal attack on Piet Els’ farm outside Kimberley last year.

The incident occurred on Els’ farm Carter’s Ridge on January 23, 2018, when he and his 67-year-old partner were viciously attacked and tortured by suspects who forced their way into his farmhouse situated on Schmidtsdrift Road just outside of Kimberley.

The suspects fled the scene in Els’ white Mercedes-Benz after allegedly stealing firearms, jewellery, cash and cellphones. The car was later found abandoned next to the R31 road to Barkly West.

Els was admitted to the intensive care unit at Mediclinic Gariep after the incident, where he died on May 15, 2018, almost four months after the attack, as a result of injuries he sustained during the attack.