The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority hopes the remaining man accused of kidnapping, raping and killing two toddlers in Diepsloot will plead guilty.
Charges against his four co-accused were withdrawn in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday.
Magistrate Len Miller, after withdrawing the charges against the four men, postponed the case to November 27 for further investigation. The fifth man would remain in custody.
Recently appointed national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana told reporters outside the court that the fifth man had confessed to the killings.
“What is comforting is accused number five, who is the remaining accused, has made a confession and he has confessed to the murders although he hasn't done it in court,” he said.
“We are hoping that in time, after consulting with his legal representative, that he will plead guilty to the charges and we are hoping to secure a conviction of three murders.”
This was because, through the investigation into the killings, the man had been linked to the murder of another toddler, Anelisa Mkondo, in September.
“There is evidence that connects him to that charge and we are hoping we get at least three life sentences,” said Nxasana.
He said while the man had not confessed to the September killing the investigation was ongoing.
“The investigation is still under way but with the evidence we have now, in terms of the DNA evidence, there is a connection to that,” said Nxasana.
“We are hoping he will come out and confess to that when he is confronted with the evidence in our possession.”
Nxasana pleaded with community members not to take the law into their own hands once the four other men were released.
“Obviously we had to start somewhere in terms of the investigation and they must respect that there was a thorough investigation handled by a very dedicated team of investigators,” he said.
“I plead with members of the community to accept that and respect the findings of the court.”
Nxasana said arrangements were being made for the four men to be taken to places of safety so they could make their way home.
Earlier, State prosecutor Matric Lupondo said the evidence showed the four men were not in Diepsloot at the time of the rape and murder of two-year-old Yonelisa Mali and her three-year-old cousin, Zandile Mali.
“The cellphone records also did not place them on the scene,” said Lupondo.
DNA evidence also excluded the four men from the scene.
They were arrested after the two girls' bodies were discovered in a Diepsloot toilet on October 15 because the evidence at the time suggested otherwise.
“It was based, (the arrests), on the evidence available at the time, which was basically the evidence pointed to the rape and murder of the kids was near the residence they reside (in),” said Lupondo.
“There was no eyewitness or any evidence linking the accused one, two, three and four to the crime.”
Therefore, the State could not charge the four men.
Lupondo told the court he had briefed the two girls' families and explained the reasons for the withdrawal of the charges.
Access to the courtroom was tightly controlled with guards posted at its two entrances and police present in the public gallery.
Media, family, supporters of the family and political party members filled the courtroom.
Women wearing Agang T-shirts and uniformed ANC Women's League members were present in court.
The media were barred from taking photos, making recordings or taking notes on tablets, with only written note-taking permitted.
The fifth man faces two counts of murder, rape and kidnapping after two-year-old Yonelisa Mali and her three-year-old cousin Zandile Mali were found dead in a Diepsloot toilet on October 15.
On October 21, the fifth man, aged 29, appeared in court. He was arrested in Alexandra, Johannesburg, on October 18.
After the murders were discovered, Diepsloot residents stoned cars and burnt tyres in the street outside the local police station in protest.