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By Dudu Busani-Dube | Dec 21, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

IT'S been another riveting year in the country's courts - and the Johannesburg high court has been no exception.

IT'S been another riveting year in the country's courts - and the Johannesburg high court has been no exception.

The court roll included Jackie Selebi, Ananias Mathe and the killers of reggae star Lucky Dube.

lThe long-awaited Jackie Selebi corruption trial resumed in October, with high-profile names such as former NPA heads Bulelani Ngcuka and Vusi Pikoli standing accused of interfering in the justice system.

Pikoli and Ngcuka were accused by Selebi in his plea explanation of being corrupt and running a smear campaign against him.

But it was Selebi's former friend, Glenn Agliotti, who made headlines when he described how he had paid the former police commissioner more than a million rand in exchange for protection from arrest and access to classified information.

Agliotti later admitted to being a habitual liar.

lThen there was Ananias Mathe, the Mozambican who escaped from the country's most secure prison, Pretoria's C-Max.

Between 2000 and 2006 Mathe raped women, killed dogs, stole cars and burgled houses across Gauteng. He was convicted on 64 charges.

Last month he was sentenced to 54 years in jail by Judge Geraldine Bouchers, who described him as a dangerous, hardened criminal who she doubted could be rehabilitated.

He will be considered for parole only after he serves 43 years of his sentence.

lCitizens were totally impressed by Judge Seun Moshidi when he sentenced the three men who killed reggae icon Lucky Dube to life in prison.

Sifiso Mhlanga, Julius Gxowa and Mbuti Mabe gunned down the musician while they tried to hijack his car in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, in 2007.

The state was able to strike a deal with their accomplice, Thabo Maropeng, who spilled the beans in exchange for charges against him being dropped.

Maroping said they had not recognised Dube. They thought the man they tried to highjack was a Nigerian. He said they shot Dube because he put up a fight.

lAfter four years of disappearing dockets, unnecessary postponements and protests by gender activists, the trial against the nine men who brutally raped a 32-year-old Thembisa woman was heard.

Thabiso Thukwane, 24, Sello Mohlala, 24, Oupa Mohlala, 23, Bongani Nhlapho, 22, Moeketsi Mphuthi, 21, Kabelo Mwale, 25, and Mojalefa Seleka, 22, were found guilty of rape and indecent assault.

They received sentences ranging from 15 to 20 years.

l It was to be a perfect crime, until the police were tipped off about the planned robbery of Elias Thutse, Fabian Damons, Daniel Mathaba, Dick Ngobeni, Jimmy Bilankulu, Muntu Mahlangu, Vincent Xaba and Themba Mahlangu.

They almost pulled off the biggest cash heist in the country when they stole R6million from a First National Bank cash point, but police confronted them just as they were about to leave.

All nine robbers were sentenced to 20 years in jail after being caught stealing the money on CCTV camera.

lIn one of the most bizarre cases, Umkhonto we Sizwe veteran and secret service agent Dumisani Sikhakhane was sentenced to 15 years for killing his former wife, their 7-year-old daughter and the woman's new husband.

Judge Gerhardus Hattingh based his sentence on the grounds that Sikhakhane committed the triple murder because he was "experiencing emotional upheaval and had acted in diminished responsibility".

lThen there was the controversial Judge Nkola Motata who found himself on the wrong side on the law.

Motata was tried for drunken driving and malicious damage to property in the Johannesburg magistrates court. He denied being drunk when he crashed his Jaguar into a property, even after the owner produced pictures of him sleeping in his car. The judge was eventually convicted and fined R20000.

In the new year we will hear the fate of South Africa' s "black widows", Mulalo Sivhidzho and Celiwe Mbokazi.

They are accused of hiring men to kill their husbands. The women have been in and out of court for the past two years.


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