‘Luke Fleurs murder suspects told to confess to protect others’

The six suspects who have been detained for over a month in relation to the death of Kaizer Chiefs defender Luke Fleurs will find out their fate on Friday, when the court is expected to rule on their bail request.

Ndumiso Ndura Moswane, 26, Fernando Nando Sive, 25, Nhlakanipho Dlamini, 21, Franky Xaba, 25, Maredi Mphahlele, 36, and 31-year-old Thembinkosi Hlomikhawu made their seventh appearance at the Roodepoort magistrate’s court on Thursday.

The case was back in court for the closing arguments in their bail applications, which the state is opposing.

The suspects, who were arrested in Slovoville, Soweto, in April, face charges of murder (accessory after the fact), robbery with aggravating circumstances, and defeating the ends of justice.

Car-hijacking syndicate

Two armed men shot and killed Fleurs on April 3 during a hijacking. This happened at the Shell petrol station at the Constantia service centre in Florida, Johannesburg.

Police said Fleurs’ luxury VW Golf 8 GTI vehicle was recovered in April, and they believe that the suspects are part of a syndicate responsible for car hijackings across Gauteng.

The search for more suspects is ongoing.

During the proceedings on Thursday, magistrate Delise Smith said the offences that Moswane, Sive, Dlamini, Xaba and Mphahlele are charged with fall under Schedule 1.

However, the offences that Hlomikhawu is charged with fall under Schedule 5 because he has two previous convictions.

State prosecutor Paseka Temeki told the court that the suspects should not get bail because they ran away from their homes days before being arrested.

After discovering that the police were looking for the car, according to Temeki, the suspects continued to hide it and strip its parts.

Shielding the real culprits

This, according to Temeki, is understood to be protecting the real suspects, who are still at large.

Temeki said during their arrest, Xaba’s cellphone was seized, and a communication with an unknown person was noticed.

“This communication was to the effect that if the suspects get arrested, they must confess to the crime because if they do not, ‘their’ names will come out and they will also be arrested,” said Temeki.

Temeki added that the suspects also know where the witnesses stay, noting that there is a possibility that they would make contact with them.

Ingrid Mainule, who represents Moswane, Sive and Dlamini, and Shibu Molefe, the lawyer for Xaba, Mphahlele, and Hlomikhawu, told the court that it would be in the interest of justice for the suspects to be granted bail because there is no evidence that they will tamper with evidence.

Both lawyers said the suspects should be granted bail because they did not resist arrest.

After listening to the closing arguments, Smith postponed the matter to Friday for judgment.

Admission of guilt

On Tuesday, the investigating officer, Sergeant Nare Benedict Moloto, said the police do not have any evidence that places the suspects at the crime scene, adding that the police cannot directly link the suspects to the murder and hijacking.

During the start of their bail application in April, the suspects told the court that they did not kill Fleurs and denied robbing the soccer star of his vehicle.

They added that the state’s case against them is weak and that they cannot be linked to the crimes they are accused of committing.

The police obtained statements from the suspects, and they admitted to being in possession of Fleurs’ vehicle and having planned to strip it down and sell its parts, according to Moloto’s affidavit, which Temeki read in court in April in an effort to oppose the suspects’ bail application.

Moloto said the suspects claimed that they saw Fleurs’ car parked in front of someone’s yard for days, and they decided to take it for their own benefit.

Moloto said the keys to Fleurs’ car were found in the possession of the suspects.

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