Man accused of citywide crime spree in the dock
– GOOD WEEKEND
A MAN who allegedly terrorised large parts of Cape Town for 15 years and who was being sought by 10 police stations in connection with a string of violent crimes is behind bars – but is such a handful two city prisons want nothing to do with him.
Siyabulela Sandlana appeared in the Western Cape High Court yesterday charged with a string of crimes, including murder, rape, attempted murder and robbery, committed across the city, from Table View and Bothasig to Gugulethu and as far as Somerset West.
In a bizarre twist, it emerged that in April 2004, Sandlana had escaped serving a 35- year sentence for two 1998 Gugulethu murders after the Western Cape High Court overturned his convictions.
In April – exactly a decade later – he will be tried in the same court on 17 charges, relating to a reign of terror during which he allegedly committed a series of violent crimes.
The investigation involved 10 police stations from Lansdowne to Somerset West until he was arrested in March.
And when Sandlana appeared in court yesterday for a pre-trial conference, it emerged that ensuring he behaves while behind bars is no easy task.
According to State advocate Helene Booysen, the two prisons closest to the high court – Goodwood and Pollsmoor – have refused to accommodate him after intimidation charges were levelled against him, leading Judge John Hlophe to warn him to behave himself in prison.
Authorities estimate Sandlana to be in his thirties but have no idea which area he is from.
Yesterday he was in court for crimes dating back as far as 1998, the most serious of which took place in 2007, 2008 and last year and include:
● The rape of a woman at gunpoint in Khayelitsha in June 2007.
● The rape of a woman in Protea Heights, Bellville, in July 2008, after threatening to kill her.
● The murder of 19- year- old Patrick Ndayi, who was shot in the head in Gugulethu on August 26 last year after a quarrel. Other charges include: ● Robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition – allegedly committed in Gugulethu in 1998.
● Two incidents of robbery with aggravating circumstances committed in Lansdowne and in Milnerton and the theft of a vehicle in Somerset West – all in the same month in 2011.
● The unlawful possession of firearms, including semi-automatic pistols, in Gugulethu and Philippi, and part of an AK-47 and ammunition, which he allegedly was found in possession of in Table View in August last year.
● Robbing a couple at gunpoint when they returned to their Bothasig home in September last year, and making off with cash, a flat-screen television, an iPad, three smartphones a laptop and their Mercedes-Benz.
● Sandlana used the MercedesBenz when he allegedly committed an armed robbery at a store in Eerste River the following month. He has been charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Sandlana also has a second matter pending against him, in which he and co- accused Vukile Simakuhle have been charged with the murder of 21-year-old Khayelitsha man, Siphelo Gcwadi, in October last year.
In the previous case, for which he was sentenced to 35 years in jail, it was alleged that Sandlana shot and killed two men in Gugulethu in June and July 1998.
The State’s case hinged on eyewitnesses who claimed to have identified Sandlana as the perpetrator. But, on appeal, their evidence did not add up and, two judges found their identification of Sandlana as the shooter were unreliable.
His convictions and 35-year sentence were set aside in April, 2004.
‘The investigation against him involved 10 police stations’