R200 discount for liking us on FB
Letters written 13 years ago by a gangster detailing a full confession have been unearthed under a carpet in a house in Kenilworth, Joburg.
It was his fear that his gang – allegedly having perpetrated a series of abductions and committed murder – would eventually turn on him that prompted him to write the confession, intending it to be found after his death.
For 13 years the bundle of letters lay hidden under a fitted brown carpet of the rented house.
Two months ago, several years after the writer had moved out and new tenants had damaged the property, the secret confession was found by the home’s owner as he ripped up the carpet during a revamp.
He unearthed the detailed confession, which links at least five men to a spree of violent abductions and a grisly murder. Two of these men are brothers and were serving as policemen at the time.
All five suspects – including the author – are in custody, and are due to apply for bail at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
The confession details how, in May 1999, a 37-year-old woman named Tandiwe Betty Ketani was kidnapped and shot in the head before being dumped in Walkerville, south of Joburg. Her killers thought she was dead, but discovered she had survived when she surfaced at a Vereeniging hospital.
The author of the confession admits they failed to do a “brilliant job” of the hit, and were forced to fake medical documents in order to kidnap Ketani from hospital by pretending to transfer her to another facility. The brazen gang pushed Ketani out of the hospital in a wheelchair.
The confession claims that the woman died from shock after being captured a second time, but police are investigating a new version that she may have had her nose and mouth taped shut, causing her to suffocate.
Her body was entombed in concrete and buried behind the garage of the Kenilworth house.
Later, it appears that the killers broke up the shallow grave and dropped the body at a dumping site in Booysens.
The owner of the house has asked to remain anonymous, but says he discovered the confession while renovating for a new tenant.
The author of the letters had rented the house for about a decade, but moved out several years ago.
The homeowner says the confession began with the words: “If you are reading this, then I am dead.”
It went on to give the names of at least two men who were abducted and tortured, as well as the story behind Ketani’s death, and the names of those involved in all the crimes.
The letters, addressed to a specific individual, direct the reader to video footage, photographs, recorded phone conversations and a stash of cash.
“Please do everything you can to avenge me,” the letter concludes. “Lastly, f*** them all!!!!!”
It was signed on September 30, 1999.
The owner says he felt like he was trapped inside a movie.
“This doesn’t happen to just anybody… And now, as things are falling into place, it’s incredible to hear what happened and how shocking and massive this is.”
After handing over the notes to the police and private investigators from VIP Support Systems, he was amazed at how quickly they got to work.
Within weeks, investigators traced the old dockets, made their arrests, dug up the grave and brought the suspects to point out the crime scene.
According to police spokesman Tshisikhawe Ndou, two of the suspects have made full confessions.
Ketani’s family, who live in the Eastern Cape, say they spent all those years searching for her, wondering whether she was alive.
While they are happy to hear about the arrests, they are still coming to terms with news of her murder. It’s not clear why she was killed, but her family suspect it may have had to do with her legal battle against a restaurant where she had worked for many years, and from which she had been fired.
Story courtesy of Eyewitness News