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2023/05/31      |  Written By:  Captain A van Wyk   |   Province:  Gauteng

PARKTOWN: Friday, 26 May 2023: Over a period of six weeks (07 April to 18 May 2023) detectives from various stations and provincial units have collectively secured over 10 life imprisonment terms with over 1000 years in prison for approximately 90 accused in nearly 85 separate cases. The charges in these cases include, among others; murder, rape, sexual assault, kidnapping and possession of child pornography.    

Highlights include the sentencing of a 32-year-old accused to two life imprisonment terms and an additional 30 years and six months in prison on eight counts that include rape, human trafficking in persons (child), sexual assault and common assault; the sentences will run concurrently. In November 2018 the accused attacked and raped two teenage girls, aged 14 and 16. Members of SAPS Pretoria North who were on patrol in the area that night detected a suspicious looking man driving around the area with two teenage girls. The accused then abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot into a veld, but was shortly after apprehended. The case was assigned to Constable Gomoleo Maledu of Ga-Rankuwa Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit for further investigation. Her meticulousness in collecting all the evidence and statements led to a solid case against the accused in court.

In another unrelated case, on 12 April 2023 the Pretoria Regional Court sentenced a 38-year-old accused to 10 years imprisonment for possession of child pornography. In November 2018 SAPS Gauteng’s Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation (SECI) unit received an enquiry from Homeland Security (US Embassy) regarding an IP address linked to child abuse images. The case was assigned to the late Warrant Officer Delene Grobler-Koonin who immediately commended with her investigation. Through the application of investigative techniques she was able to trace the suspect to an address in Hercules and recovered various electronic devices. Further investigation led to the identification of over 2000 child abuse images which were found on these devices; the youngest victim was identified as 4 months old and the eldest as 12 or 13 years old. A number of child victims are linked to this case whose identities and locations are still unknown at this stage.

The case was re-assigned to Warrant Officer Johan Boshoff after Grobler-Koonin was promoted to the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI). Sadly, Grobler-Koonin was killed in the line of duty in 2020, but justice prevailed as a result of her relentless efforts to fight crimes against women and children.   

Also, on 15 May 2023 the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg sentenced Wilson Lawrence Rihlamfu, aged 37, to two life imprisonment terms and an additional 20 years in prison on charges that include; murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and arson. Rihlamfu’s accomplice was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges. In August 2019 Rihlamfu brutally attacked and murdered two victims in Zakkariyya Park, Dr Memory Mathe and her domestic worker. Police swiftly responded to the crime scene and tracked the victim’s stolen vehicle to a location in Johannesburg CBD; various other stolen items were also recovered. Further investigation revealed that Rihlamfu was also employed by the Mathe family as a domestic worker.

The case was assigned to Sergeant Mathenjwa, a detective attached to the provincial Serious and Violent Crime Investigation’s (SVCI) Murder and Robbery unit. He left no stone unturned in ensuring a water-tight case against the accused in court. Provincial Commissioner of Police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela lauded all detectives for continuously securing lengthy sentences in courts across the province ahead of National Child Protection Week (29 May to 05 June). “The dedication, thoroughness and passion displayed by these detectives will restore our communities’ faith in the South African Police Service,” said Lt Gen Mawela.