Within minutes of being released from St Albans Prison, Zolile Mfeketho was arrested for the brutal murder of an NMMU student who was clubbed to death last year.
Mfeketho, 19, was serving a ninemonth sentence for burglary, but was released three months into his prison stint.
As he left the Port Elizabeth prison on Friday, detectives cuffed Mfeketho for the murder of computer science and applied mathematics student Asadullah Ajimudin, 19, in a botched burglary in August last year.
Mfeketho will appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court today.
Mfeketho is believed to part of a gang allegedly headed by Melikhaya Duba, 32 , also known as “Blade”.
He was considered one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s most wanted suspects until his arrest in August last year.
Despite Duba’s arrest, the gang continued its crime spree, terrorising several NMMU students and residents in suburbs such as Walmer, Walmer Heights, Charlo and Lorraine.
Duba – who is also believed to be a high-ranking member of a prison gang – is in jail awaiting trial for another house robbery case.
He is also being investigated for his involvement in the gang. Detectives are also still investigating links between the gang and various taxi-cab drivers who were dropping people off in various suburbs and later collecting them with stolen goods.
The gang is also believed to be involved with the murder of Hazel Huggins, 85, in March 2014. Huggins was suffocated during a suspected robbery in Kruger Gardens in Admiralty Way, Summerstrand.
Ajimudin, who is originally from Kimberley, was killed inside a flatlet in Ben Viljoen Street, Summerstrand.
He was in a coma for days after being hit with a cricket bat and died on August 8 last year.
Ajimudin’s father, Sayed Jalaluddin Ajimudin, said the perpetrators must face the full might of the law.
“It has been a long wait and I have mixed feeling about this. It is what we wanted – we want justice but at the same time it brings back all the memories of the ordeal,” he said.
He was grateful for the work done by the detectives.
Humewood police station commander Brigadier Ronald Koll said constables John Leppan and Ridwaan Baatjies had gathered the evidence that allegedly implicated Mfeketho in Ajimudin’s murder.
“Since the murder, the detectives have been working around the clock. Over this period, leads were established, although most of them led to a dead end,” he said.
But new evidence suggests two people were involved with Ajimudin’s murder.
“The latest arrest is one of those we believe to have been involved. We expect a second arrest shortly,” Koll said.
Shortly after Ajimudin’s murder, a R50 000 reward was offered and several leads were generated – but most proved futile.
“It is clear that this gang of robbers was on a crime spree, robbing and doing as they pleased. Those who resisted during the robberies were killed and in some cases beaten,” Koll said.
“While detectives always suspected who the culprits were, evidence linking them was an issue. “These are hardened career criminals who know the tricks of the trade and how to cover their tracks.”
A recent attack saw Grahamstown farmer John Berrington, 85, killed in his Duncan Ferguson Park retirement village home in Seventh Avenue, Summerstrand, in October.
Koll said: “One cannot overlook that this murder happened while some of the gang were in custody but some were out on a crime spree. “We are in the process of seeing whether this gang can also be implicated in this botched robbery and murder, ” he said.
But Koll said the gang had already been linked to several other house robberies and burglaries around Port Elizabeth.
He referred to the arrest of a man, 26, last month, who was caught after using a taxi cab to flee a crime scene.
The man was arrested after a car chase. He was wanted in connection with the murder of Huggins and for house robbery.