Thursday, 03 June 2021

Bethlehem: The accused, Thapelo Samuel Mokoena (41), from  Makwane Village in Qwaqwa who was now residing in Carletonville; Gauteng, escaped from police custody in Makwane.

This happened 15 years ago and his escapade was brought to a halt when Detective Warrant Officer Nkosana Radebe, pounced on him and ensured that he answers for his crimes.

This follows an incident, on the 23 August 2004, where four accused arrived at Dankbaarheid Farm District Bethlehem and brutally murdered Johanna Katherine Van Niekerk (79) and her gardener Tololo Elias Tsholo (43).

They also attacked two domestic workers where one was missed by a bullet and another one shot in the hip.

Due to the swift reaction by the police, the suspects were forced to flee the scene without stealing anything and were arrested shortly not far from the farm.

The other three accused were found guilty and sentenced, whilst Thapelo fled from lawful custody in Makwane SAPS on the 28 July 2005.

He was listed in the top 50 most wanted suspects nationally and Top 30 in the Free State.

On the 28 August 2020, Thapelo was re-arrested after a year-long search. He was found working at Hlanganani Mine in Driefontein near Carletonville and was staying there with his family.

On the 02 June 2021, he was sentenced as follows:

  • 2x life imprisonment for two murders; and
  • 10 years each for two attempted murders.

The sentences will run concurrently and he will serve two lives imprisonment.