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Justice served on three criminals for their shocking and appaling acts of violence

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner Eastern Cape


ZWELITSHA – The Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Nomthetheleli Mene commended the tireless efforts of the East London Detective Tracking team, Kidds Beach Detective Commander and chief investigator, D/Col Mxolisi Pongwana who have worked tirelessly to bring the cold and callous murderers of two women who were brutally murdered, kidnapped, raped and robbed in July 2023, to justice.

On 8 July 2023, the owner of a spaza shop, Zoleka Gantana (57) and her assistant, Kholosa Mpunga (27) were kidnapped and robbed at Ms Gantana’s business in Ncera Village in Kidds Beach. The 5 suspects drove off with them in Gantana’s bakkie. After being forcibly taken from their shop, the victims were held captive in a shack on a farm in Peddie. When one of the women recognized one of the suspects, the decision was made to end their lives in the cruelest and callous manner imaginable. They were subjected to unspeakable acts of violence, including rape, before their bodies were burned and later chopped into pieces and discarded in a nearby river.

The meticulous investigation and commendable efforts of D/Col Pongwana and his team, resulted in the recovery of the stolen bakkie as well as crucial evidence, including pieces of the victims' remains by the East London K9 search and rescue unit. Through unwavering determination and commitment to justice, four suspects were arrested, with one still evading capture. They were detained on charges business robbery, robbery with a firearm, kidnapping (x2), murder (x2), possession of unlicensed firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.

On 5 March 2024, three of the accused, namely Mandla Qosho (46), Siyanda Makaleni (45) and Sgagela Mgwatyu (53) pleaded guilty in the Makhanda High court. Qosho was sentenced to life imprisonment while Makaleni was sentenced to 15 years and Mgwatyu was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for their abhorrent crimes. Themba Dingela (50) pleaded not guilty and his case is remanded to 16 April 2024.

Lt Gen Mene commented that these despicable acts, perpetrated by the accused, represent a grave injustice that has left the family of the victims shaken and shattered by this senseless act of violence. ‘Crimes of this nature are not only a blatant reminder of the darkness that exists in our society but also serve as a call to action for us all to stand united against such atrocities.  We stand resolute in our commitment to protecting our communities and ensuring that perpetrators of such heinous crimes are swiftly brought to justice. We must all work together to combat violence against women and children and to ensure that our areas are one where every individual feels safe and valued,’ added Lt Gen Mene.


Col Priscilla Naidu
071 362 8726