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Trial date at last for Green Acres Estate stabbing victim Thembinkosi Thabethe

Thembinkosi Thabethe was allegedly stabbed and killed by a neighbour at the Green Acres Estate over a WhatsApp message. Picture: File

Thembinkosi Thabethe was allegedly stabbed and killed by a neighbour at the Green Acres Estate over a WhatsApp message. Picture: File

Published Jan 24, 2022


Pretoria - The family of Thembinkosi Thabethe, who was allegedly stabbed and killed by a neighbour at the Green Acres Estate over a WhatsApp message, may finally get the answers they have been looking for since the fatal stabbing in April 2020.

This was after the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court last week gave the State no more than three weeks to get its house in order by mid-February to proceed with the murder case against the accused, Leon Coetzee, without further delays.

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Coetzee appeared in court with the State asking for another postponement to get a High Court date to have the matter transferred.

The request was opposed by Coetzee's attorney, who instead requested the matter be withdrawn from the roll until the State got its house in order.

The attorney's assertion was that investigations had not been completed and argued that in fact the matter had been postponed previously for a High Court date.

The attorney said the matter had already been postponed in October, with the intent of securing a High Court date, followed by another postponement in December for the matter to proceed in January 2022.

If anything, he insisted that the real reason for the postponement request had more to do with the State not having completed its investigations.

There were even instructions from the deputy public prosecutor for the investigating officer to obtain the hospital file of Thabethe, he said, to interview medical personnel who treated the deceased, and to find out whether he died because of complications during operations.

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His assertions were refuted by the State, which argued that it had already handed over the indictment to the accused and that it could not get a court date to have the matter transferred as the courts went into recess in December.

The court found that progress had been made in the matter. However, it refused to grant the State's request for the matter to be postponed to March, granting it a three-week reprieve instead.

According to the State's summary of events, Coetzee is charged with murder in that on the evening of April 26, armed with a knife he allegedly approached Thabethe who was standing in the street next to his yard.

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Upon realising that Coetzee was armed, he (Thabethe) allegedly started walking backwards. However, Coetzee proceeded to stab him as he attempted to run away.

Coetzee allegedly chased Thabethe and continued stabbing him until he fell to the ground.

Police and an ambulance were called, and Thabethe was taken to a nearby hospital, while Coetzee pointed to police where he hid the knife under flowers next to his gate.

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Thabethe died on May 1, with a post-mortem report stating the cause of death was: "Multi-organ damage and signs of shock in a patient with a history of sharp force injuries."

Thabethe, who also lived in the estate, had apparently gone to confront Coetzee’s wife about a message addressed to her on the estate’s WhatsApp group.

Meanwhile, Coetzee allegedly admitted to police to taking a knife out of his home after Thabethe allegedly banged on his gate and “verbally assaulted” his spouse.

According to Coetzee, Thabethe was overly aggressive and shouted: “Come out, white racist bitch,” while he also threatened to kill her.

He also accused Thabethe of assaulting a female neighbour who had gone out to see what the commotion was about.

Earlier on in the matter, Coetzee’s legal team argued in court that he acted in self-defence, as Thabethe “made threats against his wife” after reading the contentious message on the social media platform.

The court postponed the matter to February 16.

Pretoria News