Man ac­cused of city­wide crime spree in the dock

– GOOD WEEKEND

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

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’

NOVEM­BER 23 2013

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