‘ A charm­ing man ’


Sunday World - - News - MADALA THEPA

ON Wed­nes­day Jan­uary 3 at around 3pm, Modi­molle, a pre­dom­i­nantly Afrikaans town in Lim­popo, lost its in­no­cence. Jo­han Kotze al­legedly went psy­cho in a house on Kerk Street.

There was mur­der, blood, a vic­tim of rape and three young men whom Kotze al­legedly forced at gun­point to have their way with Ina Bon­nette, his es­tranged wife.

Bon­nette was cru­elly treated to the lo­cal ver­sion of BDSM (bondage dis­ci­pline, sadism and masochism) and nails, pli­ers, a screw­driver and a grinder were set aside for a sym­bolic rit­ual af­ter­wards.

Kotze al­legedly com­mem­o­rated the event by killing Bon­nette’s son, who was shot three times.

On Fri­day, when he ap­peared in the Modi­molle Mag­is­trates’ Court with his co-ac­cused – Mam­puru Peter Mohlako, An­dries Pa­parona Sit­hole and Sello Franz Mphaka – the town came to life again.

Dr JS Moroka Street was cor­doned off and women wear­ing pink shirts with the words “Vir Ina” on the back car­ried plac­ards that cried out for jus­tice.

In­side the court, Kotze sat eerily calm, even when cam­eras where trained on his face, while his co-ac­cused cov­ered their faces.

Wear­ing blue Samp­son jeans, a blue shirt and what looked like a prison pom­padour hairstyle, he didn’t breathe. He couldn’t do it in this packed room, poi­soned with the air of vengeance.

He faces 17 charges, in­clud­ing rape, mur­der, con­spir­acy to rape, kid­nap­ping and as­sault with in­tent to cause griev­ous bod­ily harm.

The court post­poned the case against the four men to May 11 for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I thought I knew him,” says Kotze’s friend Dirk van der Merwe, a lo­cal den­tal tech­nol­o­gist.

“He was charm­ing and po­lite.

“What made him do this was that Ina went to a dance with an­other man. The strange thing is that he also dis­ap­pears with other women. He dis­ap­peared for a week with a woman... He just liked things his way,” he says.

“Once we went to­gether with friends for a week­end of raft­ing.

“Ina was row­ing and he didn’t like the way she did it. He hit her with the oar on the side of the head. My friends were shocked.”

Su­san Mphaka, Sello Mphaka’s older sis­ter, came from Ham­man­skraal with ex­tended fam­ily and friends.

“I took care of this young man,” she says. “We don’t have par­ents. “There are three of us at home and he is the third born. This is painful for us and I’m only re­luc­tantly shar­ing this with you.

“Sello was taken un­der false pre­tences. He is in­no­cent.”

Picture by Bon­gani Mn­guni

EERILY CALM: Jo­han Kotze holds his breath in a court­room filled with ven­omous ha­tred.

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