Three women found murdered
04/01/2006 22:01 - (SA)
Johannesburg - The bodies of three murdered women were found in Vereeniging on Wednesday morning, police said.
The women, who were working a night shift at the Three Rivers dry cleaners, were found with hands tied behind their backs and faces covered with plastic.
"It appears that they were strangled with a rope," said Sergeant Sifiso Nkosi.
The women, aged 23, 27 and 28, were discovered by the owner of the shop.
"When the owner arrived she found the shop unlocked, discovered that clothes were stolen, after which she found her dead employees," Nkosi said.
It was not clear what the motive for the killings were. Police were investigating, Nkosi said.
Staff 'had to clean up blood'
17/01/2006 17:09 - (SA)
Vereeniging - Workers called to clean up blood were witnesses to the murder of three employees of Protea Dry Cleaners, Vereeniging magistrate's court heard on Tuesday.
Opposing a bail application by the four accused, inspector Sello Molapisi, the investigating officer, also said the State had a strong case.
The dry-cleaning firm owner Charl Colyn, daughter Isabel, son-in-law Jacques Smit and family friend Ruan Swanepoel were arrested on Thursday and Friday for the murders.
Molapisi said a "pointing out" had taken place and there were witnesses to the murder of Jocelyn Lesito, Victoria Ndweni, and Constance Moeletsi.
The three were strangled while working night shift on January 3 and their bodies apparently stuffed into a washing machine before being placed in bins at the family-owned laundromat in Vereeniging.
Crimes linked to racist issue
In their statement on why they should be given bail, the four said they did not murder the people nor arrange for them to be murdered.
The courtroom was packed to capacity with spectators, employees and family who made disapproving sounds at intervals while the statements were being read.
Molapisi, as well as employees and an acquaintance of the four accused have linked the crimes to a racist issue which had arisen from a labour dispute.
He said bail would undermine public peace and security as it was a racist incident with a lot of media interest which had "shocked" the community.
The bail application hearing was postponed to Wednesday.
As the accused were led away, Colyn wished his family good luck with tears in his eyes. Isabel and son-in-law Smit were also visibly shaken.
Horror tale of laundry murder
18/01/2006 23:03 - (SA)
Vereeniging - Three women workers at a dry cleaners were put one by one - and still alive - into a large washing machine with chemicals, before being tied up and strangled, Vereeniging magistrate's court was told on Wednesday.
The grizzly details of the murders were laid out by investigating officer inspector Sello Molapisi in opposing the bail application of the four accused.
Employer Charl Colyn, his daughter Isabel, son-in-law Jacques Smit and family friend Ruan Swanepoel stand accused of the murders and are applying for bail.
When Molapisi described how the victims were put into the machine, Caroline Lesito - victim Jocelyn Lesito's mother - rushed sobbing from the courtroom.
Lesito, 28, Constance Moeletsi and Victoria Ngweni, 30, were found dead in laundry bins at Protea Dry Cleaners in Vereeniging on the morning of January 4. The murders took place on January 3.
Another three suspects are still being sought by police.
Loud protests outside court
The Colyn's gardeners, Samuel Mzizi and Jacob Dlamini, are in custody. Dlamini has confessed his part in the murders, as well as that of the others.
Their case has been postponed to February 1.
African National Congress supporters, brightly dressed in yellow, protested loudly outside the court.
Dancing and singing they bore placards reading: "Away with human slaughter".
The courtroom was packed and many spectators had to stand and some spilled out into the passage.
The four accused were led out of the courtroom to shouts of "murderers". Their bail application continues on Thursday.
Laundry confession in question
20/01/2006 12:43 - (SA)
Johannesburg - The reliability of a confession by a man accused of killing three laundry workers was argued during a bail application by four of his co-accused in Vereeniging magistrate's court on Friday.
"The State's case is based on a confession by a co-accused given on January 16 after bail proceedings had already begun," said defence advocate Roelof van Wyk
This was the "biggest injustice" of his 30-year career, he said.
Charl Colyn, owner of Protea Dry Cleaners in Vereeniging, his daughter Isabel, son-in-law Jacques Smit, and family friend Ruan Swanepoel were arrested on January 13.
The Colyn's gardeners Samuel Mzizi and Jacob Dlamini were arrested on January 10. The confession was made by Dlamini.
The six are accused of murdering Caroline Jocelyn Lesitho, Constance Moeletsi and Victoria Ndweni, in an apparently racially-motivated labour dispute on January 3.
"These people had time from January 3, when the murders were committed, to confess," said Van Wyk.
There was no time limit to a person's conscience countered prosecutor Mphuse Maphomane.
The financial losses the accused had incurred through being held in custody did not outweigh the interests of justice and pain suffered by the deceaseds' families.
"The public is outraged at this barbaric offence - if the accused are granted bail public peace will be disturbed," said Maphome.
Jeez, what an awful crime.