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2023/08/29      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mokgwabone   |   Province:  North West

POTCHEFSTROOM: 29 August 2023- Police in the Ngaka Molema District are on high alert following the death of Chief Gopane Phillip Motuba (65) of Matshepe village, outside Mahikeng in the policing precinct of Lomanyaneng.  Motuba was allegedly robbed and killed by two unknown males who entered his house through an unlocked front door at about 04:30 on Saturday, 26 August 2024. Thus, a case of robbery and murder is under investigation. 

Subsequent to the incident, houses belonging to a male villager, suspected to be responsible for the Chief's death, were set alight on Monday, 28 August 2023. The houses include those used for training and consultation by traditional healers (iizangoma). In addition, two vehicles were torched while the third one was damaged. Furthermore, a local road between Mahikeng and Itsoseng was barricaded. Upon intervening, and as part of maintaining public order, Mahikeng Public Order Police (POP) arrested 39 individuals; 11 males and 28 females, amongst others, for public violence. The arrests led to the convergence of members of Matshepe community in Lomanyaneng police station to demand the release of the suspects. However, they later dispersed. The suspects, aged between 22 and 55, are expected to appear before the Molopo Magistrates' Court soon.

The police would like to request anyone who may have information that can assist in the investigations to contact the Investigating Officer, Detective Warrant Officer Samuel Matiti on 082 374 0498 or call the South African Police Service (SAPS) Crime Stop number: 08600 10111. Anonymous tip-offs can also be communicated via MySAPS App.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, condemned the incidents, which he said are a clear sign of disrespect for the rule of law and cannot be tolerated. He urged the community to work together with the police to ensure justice rather than taking the law into their own hands, which is unlawful and unacceptable.