THOHOYANDOU - Five suspects, aged between 30 and 52, amongst them a former Police Captain who resigned from the SAPS in March 2018, were arrested during a sting operation dubbed "Operation Thuma Mina". The operation, led by the Deputy Provincial Commissioner responsible for Crime Detection, Major General Bafana Linda was conducted last night 2018-04-17 until the early hours of this morning. It was composed of members of the Provincial Detective Service, the Organized Crime Unit, the Occult and Harmful Religious Practices Unit and the Tactical Response Team (TRT).
The arrest of the five is the consequence of an intensive investigation dating back to 2014 when the then 33 year old woman, Mercy Rantshana was ritually murdered on 15 June 2014. Her mutilated body was discovered by the herdboy in the bushes at Tshitavha village outside Thohoyandou.
Subsequent to this barbaric incident, the police then launched intensive investigations that have led to the arrest of the 48 year old local Traditional Doctor, Nelson Baloyi also from Tshitavha. He was arrested on 01July 2014 and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder by the Thohoyandou High Court on 23 September 2016.
This sentence did not stop the police from continuing with investigations as it was believed other conspirators could still be on the loose. The police then launched a well-coordinated operation "Thuma Mina" last night at several villages around Thohoyandou and arrested the suspects.
The Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has commended this team of dedicated investigators for their sterling detective work. "These latest arrests have a potential of bringing to an end barbaric acts of ritual murder in which innocent human beings are butchered for their body parts", concluded General Ledwaba.
The arrested suspects will appear in Thohoyandou magistrate on Thursday 2018-04-19. More arrests are expected.
Source: South African Police Service