22 gangsters convicted in the PE High Court this year
According to police, among the cases was the first ever Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) conviction for gang violence in the Bay
Over the past eight months, 22 gangsters have been sentenced to a combined 191 years behind bars for crimes ranging from murder to robbery.
The latest series of convictions, last week, saw seven gangsters being found guilty in three separate cases in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
The acting director of public prosecutions, advocate Indra Goberdan, said that this was a result of long hours of strategising, dedication and hard work by both the prosecution team and the provincial organised crime gang team.
"The sentences should send a strong message to upcoming gangsters who dare to delve in gang activities."
Two of last week’s cases included the conviction of the men who murder a two-year-old in 2017 and the killing of drug lord and gangster Donovan “Staal” Berry – which in turn led to the murder of a 12-year-old girl.
News of the convictions comes after a four-year-old was shot and wounded in a gang-related shooting in Kobus Road, Helenvale, on Sunday.
The latest gang-related conviction was on July 2, when three Spotbouer gang members were convicted for the murder of Berry, 47, in May 2016.
Elgershin Goliath, 27, Deon Harmse, 26, and Nealon Redhouse,21, were convicted for his murder.
Shelton Malgas, 26, who was also arrested with the trio, was acquitted.
The killing led to the murder of Grade 7 pupil Aaliyah "Angel" Tee weeks later. Tee’s mother, Candice, had witnessed Berry’s murder across from her house.
For the Tee killing, Redhouse and Harmse were sentenced to 89 years imprisonment in 2018 but would effectively serve 30 years in jail.
Redhouse is already fulfilling a 52-year jail sentence for a string of other crimes including a double murder in 2015.
Goliath, Harmse and Redhouse will be handed down their sentence on August 23.
On July 1, suspected Kakmakers gang members Randy Malgas, 32 and Sergio Slabbert, 31, were sentenced to life imprisonment plus 42 years for attempted murder, robbery, illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said that all the sentences would run concurrently with the life imprisonment.
The two were arrested for the murder of Shaegen Goeda, 28, at a house in Ledger Street, Kleinskool, in December 2016.
“All three men got out [of the car] with firearms and started shooting at the house, killing Goeda,” she said.
Naidu said investigations revealed that the Toyota Corolla used in the incident was hijacked nearby prior to the shooting.
A month later, Malgas was arrested while coming out of a shack in Ferreira’s Grounds, Klenskool.
Slabbert was also arrested in the same manner and was later linked to Goede’s murder.
Also on July 1, suspected Dondolos gang members Marshall Thomas and Maxwell Muller, both 22, were convicted of crimes connected to the murder of two-year-old Hakeem Baartman in 2017.
Thomas and Muller killed Baartman during a gang shooting in Hartebees Street, Helenvale, on November 18.
Baartman was hit in the head by a stray bullet, while Dimitri Guest, 17, sustained a gunshot wound to the neck.
Guest was the target of the shooting.
The court found Muller guilty for contributing and aiding in criminal gang activity under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca), and being accessory to murder, unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition.
Naidu said that this marked the first Poca conviction linked to Northern areas gangsterism.
Thomas was found guilty of Baartman’s murder, the attempted murder of Guest as well as unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition.
Both are due to be sentenced in the same court on August 26.
Asked about the recent shooting of a four-year-old over the weekend, Naidu said the child was still alive in hospital and detectives were following up leads.
Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga said the convictions were a result of a great partnership between detectives and the prosecutors.