TIMES SELECT TODAY: Desperate pleas from gangland | Bling pastor on many sex charges

A four-year-old child was one of the first people to see Gift of the Givers volunteer Ameerodien Noordien’s body lying on the ground with blood oozing from the gunshot wounds he sustained in a gang shooting on Friday.

“Our community is living in hyper-trauma! Children saw someone die in front of them on Friday and 24 hours later they were playing on the spot where they saw him get killed,” a young Hanover Park resident said, her voice shaking as she pleaded with Police Minister Bheki Cele for help.

Cele took questions from the public on Monday, under a large tent erected by the Gift of the Givers foundation, for which 28-year-old Noordien volunteered.

Cele’s response to the resident was telling. “To you, there’s not much I can say. The police are only a temporary measure. Kids should not be playing in the streets … ”

A prominent Limpopo businesswoman, Clive Mashele, and her family are living in fear after one of the suspects who hijacked her and her son from their home in Nkowankowa last year has been released from jail on bail without their knowledge.

“I am really scared, and just can’t sleep at night. How did this happen? How was this suspect granted bail while it is known that he is facing serious crimes?” said Mashele, who is well known in Limpopo for her community work.

On September 27, a day before the trial of Gideon Sambo was due to start, he was released on bail by the Polokwane High Court after winning an appeal against a decision by the Nkowankowa Magistrate’s Court not to grant bail.

Sambo and his co-accused were facing charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and two counts of robbery. His co-accused could not raise bail money.

“Sambo and his team are known to be dangerous and we are honestly scared of what will happen to our lives now. I’ve asked the police detective investigating this case of what happened and he was in the dark, and the NPA say they will come back to me next week,” said Mashele.

Nhlanhla Nene has done a noble thing for all parents of young children. A friend told me yesterday that, thanks to the finance minister, her son has learnt why it is important to tell the truth.

Here’s how this came about: Having caught her child trying to pretend he hadn’t told a fib when the evidence overwhelmingly proved that he had, my friend tried to explain the benefits of confessing by using Nene as an example.

“Mr Nene told a lie,” she said to her son. “And then he told another lie by saying he hadn’t told a lie. He might be telling the truth now, but look what trouble he’s in.”

The small boy was suitably chastened (and terrified that his picture might appear on the front page of the Sunday Times). He promised never again to lie about having lied. If he breaks this oath it might mean he’s lying now; or perhaps not, if he then comes clean and says he lied when he vowed not to lie … but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

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