Four men and one minor will go on trial later this year in connection with the murder of two North West cops found burnt in a state vehicle two years ago.
The five — Benjamin Jacobs, Jeremiah Mongale, Rapulana Keikantse, Matthews Modukanele and an unnamed minor — were arrested after the charred remains of Const Simon Ntsekeletsa, 50 and Sgt Mojalefa Molete, 42, were found in a police vehicle in the bushes in Moseta.
The two officers went missing while out on patrol in their precinct. They were based at the Mareetsane police station, just south of Mahikeng.
Ntsekeletsa and Mojalefa had allegedly run into suspected livestock thieves and were bringing them to the police station when they lost contact with their commander for an hour.
NPA North West spokesperson Henry Mamothame said the trial, which was set for March 13-17, was postponed to July 24.
“The matter had to be rolled over on the first day to allow some defence attorneys to make final consultations with their clients. On Wednesday the defence attorneys submitted a guilty plea proposal to the state, which was ultimately rejected as it was deemed not to be in the interests of justice,” he said.
He said the plea submitted was for lesser sentences for the accused.
“This resulted in a new date being agreed on by the court and all parties involved. The court sitting was declared a juvenile court owing to the age of the 16-year-old who is standing trial in this matter,” he said.
The five face murder, malicious damage to property, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of ammunition, possession of a semi-automatic firearm, kidnapping, possession of ammunition with intent to commit an offence and defeating the ends of justice charges.
Only the 16-year-old minor has been granted R1,000 bail and is under the care of a guardian.
His four co-accused were all denied bail and will remain in police custody until the matter is completed, the National Prosecuting Authority said.