Free State man arrested for murder in Covid-19 relief fund queue and killing partner two months later
A Free State man accused of murdering two people — one his partner — and the attempted murder of a third person has appeared in court, police confirmed on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old was arrested on Tuesday evening.
According to Free State police spokesperson Col Thandi Mbambo, the offences allegedly happened between February and April.
“On February 22 about 1pm, Benjamin Mahasa and a female companion were queuing at Mandela Park complex, QwaQwa, to collect their monthly Covid-19 relief funds at the post office.
"[The suspect then] allegedly brought some people and forced them to join the queue in front of the victims. An argument ensued, which ended with both victims allegedly shot by the suspect. He fled the scene after the incident,” said Mbambo.
The woman was shot in the knee while Mahasa was shot in the groin and died in hospital a day later.
Barely two months after the first incident, police discovered Marethabile Sekotlo's lifeless body on a road just outside Phuthaditjhaba.
“It emerged during investigation that the deceased's partner was the suspect, and he was also positively linked to the post office shooting,” Mbambo confirmed to TimesLIVE.
The suspect was nabbed after he was spotted at a shopping complex in Phuthaditjhaba. He was found with a revolver and five bullets in his possession. Police later discovered seven more bullets and a knife at his house.
“The firearm [details were] circulated and it emerged that it was reported stolen at Cornelia police station during December 2018,” Mbambo said.
The man faces double murder, attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition charges.
He appeared in the Phuthaditjhaba magistrate's court on Wednesday on possession of an unlicensed firearm charges and will return next week Monday for the remaining charges before all the charges are consolidated, Mbambo told TimesLIVE.
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