All five police officers accused of murder will remain in custody after they were denied bail on Tuesday.
The five cops attached to Cradock police station were arrested by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) a week ago.
Second murder charge added
Added to their charges, is another count of murder following new information that surfaced before the Cradock magistrate’s court that another victim died as a result of their brutality.
Other charges include kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The case has been postponed to February 23, 2024 for further investigations.
According to Ipid, three police officers, Sergeant Melikhaya Madubedube, Constable Ibanathu Jack and Constable Ndumiso Mpondo were arrested earlier in January.
Ipid’s spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said an investigation led to the arrest of two more police officers. They are Sergeant Vuyane Mahlasela and Sergeant Khulile Damane.
Victims were suspected of cellphone theft
It is alleged that one of the police officers was robbed by a group of men while he was off duty. A few days later, while on duty, the cop allegedly asked for his colleagues to help him hunt down the men they accused of theft. They found three of them.
“They allegedly took them to a secluded place where they assaulted them. Following the assault, the suspects were brought to the Public Order Police building. All the officers involved were stationed at the building,” said Shuping.
One of the victims, 29-year-old Thabang Mbovane, collapsed in the building. The officers allegedly left him when they knocked off duty.
Succumbed to assault injuries
“He was only discovered by the other police officers when they reported for duty. Paramedics were called, and he was declared dead. The second victim, Sindile Makoa, 34, also passed away on Monday. A second charge of murder was added against the police officers,” Shuping added.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the cause of death for the second victim has been described as blunt force head trauma.
“A second charge of murder was added against all the five accused. That charge replaces one attempted murder count,” said NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali.