Mixed emotions as Karabo Mokoena’s alleged killer is denied bail

30 June 2017 - 15:26 By Naledi Shange
Murder accused 27-year-old Sandile Mantsoe during his first appearance at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for allegedly killing his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena on May 12, 2017 in Johannesburg. File photo
Murder accused 27-year-old Sandile Mantsoe during his first appearance at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for allegedly killing his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena on May 12, 2017 in Johannesburg. File photo
Image: Gallo Images / Sunday World / Veli Nhlapo

While Karabo Mokoena’s sister‚ Bontle‚ shrieked in jubilation and later broke down crying after her sister’s alleged killer‚ Sandile Mantsoe‚ was denied bail in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday‚ Mantsoe’s family looked distraught at the news.

Mantsoe’s brother‚ who bears a striking resemblance to the accused‚ stared ahead at his brother and continuously wiped the corner of his eyes.

Bontle cried “yes Jesus‚ thank you Jesus‚” as she buried her face in her mother’s thigh as she cried‚ while a male relative stroked her back.

The Mokoena family quickly hurried out of the court‚ refusing to speak to the media.

Mantsoe’s family‚ who had occupied the far end of the court‚ sat together‚ huddled in the corner of the court gallery‚ waiting for the media to disperse.

The court had found that Mantsoe failed to provide exceptional circumstances which could warrant his release.

It seemed that Mantsoe’s decision to not take the stand may have contributed to his being denied bail.

Delivering his verdict on the bail application‚ magistrate Carlo Labuschagne submitted that it would have been better if Mantsoe had taken to the stand and provided the court with answers.

Labuschagne said arguing via affidavit was “not necessarily the best.”

A secondary affidavit‚ filed in response to the investigation officers’ claims that Mantsoe had told officers he killed Mokoena to break a blood covenant bond between the two of them‚ further weakened his case.

In Mantsoe’s initial affidavit‚ he submitted that he had co-operated with the police‚ even leading them to the place where he had burnt his body after finding her dead in his apartment‚ apparently from suicide.

In the secondary affidavit‚ where he challenged the investigating officer’s affidavit‚ he made startling allegations that he had been threatened with violence and had thus led officers to the crime scene.

“This contradicts his initial statement that he fully co-operated from the beginning‚” said Labuschagne.

He also found that Mantsoe had failed to give exceptional circumstances which would warrant his release from police custody pending the outcome of his trial. “The court could not find any circumstances out of the ordinary‚” said Labuschagne.

“Apart from allegations that the deceased was suicidal‚ there is no evidence proving the suicide.”

He stressed that the onus lay with Mantsoe to prove that the State would not be able to prove the allegations levelled against him. He had not done this.

“The state has shown a prima facie case that this was most likely premeditated murder‚” Labuschagne said.

Labuschagne did not respond to the defence’s argument that he was a businessman with interests in South Africa.

Instead‚ he highlighted that Mantsoe‚ who is a a married father of three‚ had not made any submissions to the court about financially supporting his estranged wife or children.

Mantsoe faces a Schedule Six offence.

He has been charged with defeating the ends of justice and premeditated murder. He has pleaded not guilty to the crimes.

He was arrested on May 10‚ two weeks after Mokoena’s family started searching for her‚ circulating her pictures on social media.

A t the time‚ Karabo’s body had already been found by police‚ burnt beyond recognition‚ in a ditch in Lyndhurst.

Mantosoe’s version was that he disposed of her body after finding that she had committed suicide in his Sandton apartment. He claimed to have panicked as he had already been painted as an abusive lover.

He has confessed that he removed the body from his flat using a dustbin and set it alight using a tyre‚ petrol and pool acid.

The investigating officer in the matter‚ however‚ said Mantsoe had told officers that he killed her in order to break a blood covenant between the two of them. The ritual was reportedly performed to boost his business.

When the two of them separated‚ his business began to suffer‚ leading him to kill her in order to break the jinx.

Mantsoe’s case returns to court on July 28 when the Director of Public Prosecutions is expected to give further directions on the case.