'Beach Cats' gang members arrested as police pounce on alleged cop killers

07 April 2021 - 17:25
By Aron Hyman
Seven accused appeared in the Blue Downs magistrate's court on Wednesday after the murder of Mowbray detective Thomas Ngobeni. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/scanrail Seven accused appeared in the Blue Downs magistrate's court on Wednesday after the murder of Mowbray detective Thomas Ngobeni. Stock photo.

Seven members of the “Beach Cats” gang appeared in the Blue Downs magistrate's court on Wednesday after they allegedly beat a Cape Town police detective to death two weeks ago.

Mowbray police detective Sgt Thomas Ngobeni was murdered while off-duty after he allegedly got into a fight with Logan Lelieveld in Eerste River on Saturday March 27.

Lelieveld was one of the seven taken into custody.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the state alleged that after the fight broke out, Lelieveld called his co-accused and members of his alleged gang, who were named as Uluvo Qhwesha, Kwezi Witbooi, Eletemba Qlesha, Clarence Esau, Ray-Leigh January and Ashwin Hunter.

The state alleged that Ngobeni was then assaulted by all seven of the men, who attacked him with beer bottles and bricks.

“The policeman attempted to run away but they tripped him. He was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” said Ntabazalila.

Western Cape police spokesperson Capt FC van Wyk said after the murder of the 44-year-old sergeant, the police started their hunt for the then unknown perpetrators.

The investigation paid off on Sunday, when organised crime detectives and tactical response team officers pounced on the newly established Our Pride social housing project in Eerste River, where they arrested the seven accused, who are aged between 19 and 25.

The matter was postponed until April 14. The seven will remain in custody until then.

Ngobeni was the second Mowbray police officer to be killed in Cape Town’s eastern suburbs in March, after the murder of Const Khangelani Mangqabini on March 19.

On March 23, Craig Amon, 23, appeared in the Bellville magistrate's court for Mangqabini’s murder after he handed himself over to the Hawks.

He allegedly shot Mangqabini multiple times during a dispute in Ravel Street, Delft. Manqwabini died shortly after he was taken to hospital by paramedics.

Amon faces charges of murder and illegal possession of a firearm.

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