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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Police avert possible stampede

By unknown | Sep 27, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Three suspects - including one woman believed to be a sus- pected serial killer's girlfriend - appeared briefly in camera before Magistrate Giel van Aarde in Umzinto yesterday, in connection with the abduction and murder of five women.

The three were arrested in Welbadacht, south of Durban, on Monday, following the killings of five women whose decomposed bodies were found at Shayamoya sugarcane fields recently.

The court was cleared after State prosecutor Christelle Rossouw applied that proceeding be held behind closed doors.

The media was ordered not to publish the names and particulars of the suspects.

Rossouw said police were still to conduct an identification parade, saying the presence in court of the public and the media might affect investigations.

"As much as the people of waUmzinto want to know about the case, it is important that investigations should not be jeopardised," he said.

Outside the court heavily armed police sweated to prevent angry women from storming the courthouse, demanding to see the suspects. Police were forced to create a 200m barricade around the court building to prevent a stampede.

The suspects applied for legal aid and their case was postponed to October 10 for bail application.

Police initially arrested five people at Welbadacht on Monday morning who were linked to the brutal murders. Two of the suspects - both women - were later released after investigations failed to link them to the case.

Four of the five bodies are still in a government mortuary and will only be be released for burial once forensic and DNA results are sent back from Pretoria. Only the body of Nombali Ngcobo, 35, from Umzinyathi, north of Durban, has been identified and released. She was buried a week ago.

Nombali's sister, Thandeka who was in court, said it was very hard for the family to come to terms with the death.

She said Nombali had two children in grades 8 and 11 and a three-year-old child.

"We're taking care of them, but the oldest refuses to accept his mother is dead. We now hope that justice will take its course," she said.

Police spokesman Zandra Hechter said there is a possibility that there might be more suspects.


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