Fort Hare director of investigations nabbed for campus murders

Police in the Eastern Cape have nabbed a 10th suspect in connection with murder and attempted murder cases at the University of Fort Hare.

National police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said on Monday that the SA Police Service’s (SAPS) national task team responsible for investigating and arresting those responsible for murder and attempted murder cases at Fort Hare arrested Isaac Plaatjies last week.

Mathe said Plaatjies is the university’s director responsible for investigations and vetting services.

He made a brief appearance at the Alice magistrate’s court on Monday.

Mathe said Plaatjies will join nine other suspects on Tuesday where they will appear before the same court.

Deputy Minister of Police Cassel Mathale and national police commissioner General Fannie Masemola, said Mathe, are expected to attend the court proceedings.

Possibility of more arrests

The task team cannot rule out the possibility of effecting more arrests as investigations are continuing, added Mather.

Here is a breakdown of all 10 suspects arrested in connection with the murder and attempted murder cases at the university:

In April 2023, five suspects were arrested and charged for all the cases. They are:

• Bongani Peter, chief operating transport officer: Fort Hare University.
• Wanini Khuza, a retired supervisor of drivers at the university of Fort Hare East London campus.
• Sicelo Mbulawa , former Student Representative Council member and businessman who also provides services at the University of Fort Hare.
• Mthobisi Khanyile, a criminal from KwaZulu-Natal who specialises in stolen vehicles across the borders of South Africa.
• Mthobisi Dlamini, a habitual housebreaker with more than 15 house breaking and theft cases. He is said to be operating mainly around Berea, Mayville and Morningside in KwaZulu-Natal.

In May 2023, the five suspects were denied bail at a Dimbaza court in Eastern Cape, and Mbulawa was granted R75 000 bail at Makhanda High court in November 2023 after his bail appeal.

● In July 2023, a police officer attached to the Maderia SAPS detection services, Constable Lindokuhle Manjati, was arrested, charged and added as accused number six.
● In August 2023, Zimele Chiliza, a taxi boss from KwaZulu-Natal and the wife of a police officer who is an attorney, Pelisa Nkonyeni, were arrested, charged and added as accused number seven and eight, respectively.
● In September 2023, Thamsanqa Mgwetyana was successfully located in his hideout in KwaZulu-Natal. He was charged and added as accused number nine.
● On November 17 2023, Plaatjies was arrested, charged and added as accused number 10.

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