Two siblings appeared before the Benoni magistrate court yesterday & were denied bail & remanded in custody following the recovery of 19 firearms, 10 of which are illegal & the discovery of a severed human head in Putfontein.
Gauteng Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela welcomed the recovery of the 19 firearms by police during the investigation of a murder case in Putfontein. Nine of these firearms have been confirmed as licenced but remain seized for ballistic testing, along with the other ten and the illegal ammunition.
Police in May 2020 opened an inquest docket after discovering a badly burnt body of an unknown male in Putfontein. Coincidentally, a family came to report a missing person at the police station and, working closely with the family, police were able to confirm that the badly burnt body was in fact that of the missing person, with evidence of a gunshot wound. For this, a murder case was then registered for further investigation.
Subsequent investigations led police to the deceased’s landlord and further revealed that the same landlord could possibly be linked to a June 2019 murder of a victim who was allegedly decapitated and the head dumped into a septic tank on another plot in Putfontein. Police on Sunday 02 August 2020 found on the landlord’s property, one illegal firearm and multiple rounds of ammunition for which he was arrested.
On Tuesday 04 August 2020 police followed more leads and found in Benoni, five illegal firearms and ammunition. A suspect is yet to be arrested.
Meanwhile on the same day, police arrived at a different plot in Putfontein and searched the property. Six more firearms and ammunition were found, one of which was illegal; while a further search led police to a septic tank in which a human head was found. A murder case was opened and is under investigation, and the two suspects who are brothers, were arrested for murder and for possession of illegal firearm and ammunition. The pair appeared before the Benoni Magistrate Court today. They were denied bail and the case remanded to 13 August 2020.
Further investigations on Wednesday 05 August 2020 led police to three other addresses where police found more illegal firearms and ammunition, bringing to total ten recovered illegal firearms of different calibres, including rifles.
To this end, police are working closely with the prosecuting authorities towards a possible centralisation of the cases as there is reason to believe that all arrested suspects may be implicated in both murders. At the same time, the possibility of the suspects being linked to more crimes cannot be ruled out pending the outcome of the ballistic tests.
Lieutenant General Elias Mawela went on to appreciate the relentless efforts and commitment with which the detectives have approached this investigation that has revealed a number of other crimes that could have gone undetected had it not been for their diligence.
Mawela has also taken this opportunity to remind owners of illegal and/or unwanted firearms and ammunition, about the new Firearm Amnesty Period that commenced on 01 August 2020 and will run for six months until 31 January next year.
“The recovery of so many illegal firearms is worth commending in the face of the recently released 2019/2020 crime statistics that reflect challenges in relation to contact crime, especially murder where the most common weapon is a firearm,” remarked the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng.