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2023/03/24      |  Written By:  Mr N Gwala   |   Province:  Western Cape

WESTERN CAPE: 23 MARCH 2023 -  Western Cape High Court Judge Samela handed two life sentences to the double murder accused, Zandre Swartz who shot and killed a couple at Kalbalskraal informal settlement in Malmesbury on the evening of 01 November 2019. The 31 year old accused was sentenced today after he was found guilty of double murder, attempted murder, and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Besides the double life sentence, he was also sentenced eight years for attempted murder, 20 years for the illegal possession of a firearm and six years for the illegal possession of ammunition. All the sentences will be served concurrently with a life sentence.

Before handing down the sentence Judge Samela described the accused as someone who is unrepentant of the heinous crimes he committed and had shown no signs that he can rehabilitated. He said the accused has treated the death of the deceased as unimportant and it is the duty of the court and the police to protect innocent and vulnerable citizens who fall prey to unrepentant murderers who don't respect the life of others. The accused is also known to be a gang member of a group known as Convicts. The investigating officer Detective Sergeant Zaliseka Hlatshaneni was praised by Judge Samela for a job well done. He was also praised by the parents of the deceased and Lieutenant Colonel Kumbulele Ntongana from Provincial Detectives attached to SVC.

Four years after the gruesome attack at a flat in St Lucia  Court which saw the demise of Faghmie Valentine, a 21 year old man from Hanover Park, his killer met his fate. Gershwin Benjamin was sentenced to 15 years in prison at the Wynberg Regional court today. In February 2019, the deceased and his cousin visited the perpetrator’s sister. The trigger-happy, Dollar Kids gang member walked in and opened fire on the unsuspecting victim. The bullets struck him in the head and neck and he succumbed to death on the scene.

Two days after the incident, members of the Anti-Gang Unit arrested Gershwin Benjamin and the Hanover Park community rallied against him, including his own relatives who testified in court. He was denied bail and remained in custody for the duration of the trial. Owing to the cooperation of the community, the determination of the investigating officer and the prosecuting team, Benjamin was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Both sentences serve as motivation to our detectives in the province who work tirelessly and encounter the most aggravating circumstances on a daily basis. The Western Cape Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile commended Detective Sergeant Hlaole David Mmola of the Anti-Gang Unit and Detective Sergeant Zaliseka Hlatshaneni who were both adamant for justice to prevail. “We also encourage communities to work with the police as we strive for a crime free society” he said.