Charges of murder, kidnapping, and extortion against Lehlohonolo Thomas Rankuotsana have been withdrawn by the Bloemfontein district court in the Free State.
This after Rankuotsana appeared in court on Wednesday.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Rankuotsana was arrested after preliminary investigations led by specialised units of investigators within the SA Police Service.
The investigation linked him to the case of Machaka Radebe, a teenager who was found in the veld murdered. Her body was found not far from her home.
He appeared in court for three charges, which were withdrawn.
In December, the 16-year-old Radebe was reported missing by the family. Two days later, she was found murdered.
Free State NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said investigations were immediately launched and they led to the arrest of two suspects including Rankuotsana
Case not closed
Senior public prosecutor Ntai Letaba, who is tasked with the matter, earlier met with the family members of the victim and they were informed of reasons and why a decision was taken by the prosecution to withdraw the charges.
“The communities of Mangaung must rest assured that the withdrawal of the case against the accused does not render the case closed,” said Senokoatsane.
He further revealed that a team of highly experienced and trained investigators within the police were continuing with investigations to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to book.
Mass murder suspects off the hook
In a separate case, the Soshanguve magistrate’s court struck the mass murder case against one of the accused off the court roll.
The court found that the police failed to ensure the accused was in court within the prescribed 48 hours.
The case relates to the gunning down four people in the early hours of New Year’s Day in Soshanguve, Pretoria.
According to Section 50(1)(c) of the Criminal Procedures Act, it is stipulated that an accused person should be brought before the lower court as soon as possible but not later than 48 hours after the arrest.
It was reported that the accused’s lawyer, Stevens Magoro, said that while officers were at liberty to rearrest his client, they should have followed due process.