Alleged M’Plain gang members tried under POCA

Fourteen members allegedly of a notorious Mitchell’s Plain gang will be tried under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) in the Western Cape High Court.

Judge Robert Henney last week dismissed an application by three accused Sadiq Williams, 30, Moegamat Alie Smart, 50, both from Lentegeur, and Shaline Naidoo, 30, from Rocklands, to be prosecuted separately.

The application was heard in court on April 20 and further submissions were received on August 4.

The judgment was delivered via email to all of the legal parties on Thursday September 16.

The trio and Niyaaz Hendricks, 28, Angelo Karolus, 33, Jaque Julies, 54, Bernito Valentine, 24, all from Lentegeur, Jeremy van Wyk, 20, from New Lentegeur, Raeef Mohammed, 28, from Portland, Ashraf Simon, 39, from New Woodlands, Mark Smith, 36, from Philippi, Keagan van Rooi, 31, from Pelican Park and Lumkile Mnguni, 25, and Ashley Martin, 39, both from Delft, allegedly members of the Junior Cisco Yakkies, face 101 charges – three charges relate to contravening POCA and the other offences relate to “pattern of criminal gang activity”.

The trial starts on April 25 next year.

These involve counts of murder, attempted murder, being in possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and the possession of drugs and drug trafficking for 11 years, between March 22 2008 and September 17 2019, in Lentegeur, Philippi, Kleinvlei, Nyanga and Mitchell’s Plain.

These crimes were committed at 16 Ivy Street and 123 Turksvy Street, in Lentegeur, various parks and open fields in Mitchell’s Plain.

In his ruling Judge Henney said the State also allege that they may have been involved in the theft of vehicles.

“The reason for the multiple charges, it seems, would be that a singular or particular criminal gang activity, like the murder or attempted murder for example, committed either by singular member of the gang or a gang of persons belonging to the gang, would result in the commission of several other offences, like the possession of firearms and ammunition,” read the judgment.

According to the judgment, a gang member is a person, who admits to criminal gang membership; is identified as a member by a parent or guardian; resides in or frequents a particular gang’s area and adopts their style of dress, use of hand signs, language or their tattoos, and associates with known members; has been arrested more than once in the company of identified members for offences, which are consistent with usual crime gang activities; and is identified by physical evidence such as photographs or other documentation.

Some accused face a charge of reckless endangerment to person or property in that they opened fire in a neighbourhood, field or open park.

According to the charge sheet, 17 men were killed between March 21 2016 and February 8 2019, including a shooting spree with four men being murdered within two days in April 2018.

Some of these killings are linked to charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

“They committed various murders, attempted murders, crimes involving the possession of illegal or prohibited firearms and ammunition.

“They sold drugs in their ‘territory’ and ‘punished’ people who they regarded as traitors for having left the JCY gang or buying drugs from opposing gangs,” read the indictment.

It states that all victims listed in specified charges were either killed or wounded while being shot at or injured with sharp instruments.

On March 22 2008 a man was lured into a building by a group of the JCY members and the door closed. He was “brutally attacked with a sword/panga and other sharp instruments and was lucky to escape through a door”.

He was seriously injured and hospitalised.

The charge sheet further reads: “Innocent members of the community were also injured and traumatised.”

Mitchell’s Plain police station commander, Brigadier Cass Goolam, said having the group tried under POCA was a “great success”.

“This potentially means longer sentences; acts as a deterrent; positively impacts the community’s perceptions of the police; and bolsters public confidence in the police,” Brigadier Goolam said.