Man back in court after he was found with Esther Mahlangu’s pistol

Jan Mlemani Kwati Masilela, who is out on R3 000 bail, will be back at Mdutjana Magistrate’s Court today facing a charge of possession of an unlicensed firearm.

A 32-year-old Mpumalanga man is appearing in court after he was arrested for possession of a pistol stolen from Dr Nostokana Esther Mahlangu during a robbery at her home. Photo: SAPS

Jan Mlemani Kwati Masilela, who is out on R3 000 bail, will be back at Mdutjana Magistrate’s Court today facing a charge of possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Pretoria – The 32-year-old Mpumalanga man who was arrested after being allegedly found in possession of renowned Ndebele artist Dr Nostokana Esther Mahlangu’s 7.65mm pistol is set to return to court this morning.

“Jan Mlemani Kwati Masilela, who is out on R3 000 bail in the case of Dr Nostokana Esther Mahlangu, will be back at Mdutjana Magistrate’s Court today, 10 May, facing a charge of possession of unlicensed firearm,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

A 32-year-old Mpumalanga man is appearing in court after he was arrested for possession of a pistol stolen from Dr Nostokana Esther Mahlangu during a robbery at her home. Photo: SAPS

Last month, the first suspect in the high profile matter, a 27-year-old man who allegedly confessed to breaking into Mahlangu’s house and robbing the 87-year-old pensioner after assaulting her, was remanded in custody after he appeared before the Mdutjana Magistrate’s Court.

The matter was postponed because the presiding magistrate had been booked off sick.

Simon Kgantshi Skosana has been in custody since March after he was apprehended by the police in Mpumalanga following the robbery and assault at Mahlangu’s house.

Provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, previously commended the “sterling work” done by the established team of detectives since the robbery of the Ndebele artist made headlines.

The detectives arrested and charged Skosana and Masilela in connection with the robbery and physical attack on Mahlangu.

Seven suspects were brought in for questioning, and five were released after obtaining statements from them. Mohlala said the five could not be linked to the robbery.

“According to the report, police pounced on the first suspect at around 2am in the morning at Mogononong in Siyabuswa. He was found with the firearm and its serial number filed off, hidden in the toilet cistern, wrapped in plastic.

“He then pointed to the second suspect, where he bought the firearm from. The second suspect bought it from the third suspect. The third suspect pointed to the fourth suspect where he also bought it from,” Mohlala said.

Police said Skosana confessed to being the one who broke into Mahlangu’s house and took the firearm, money and a safe.

The safe was found at Ramokgeletsane, a few kilometres from Siyabuswa, and it had been opened with an angle-grinder, Mohlala said.

Mahlangu was assaulted during the robbery at her house in Weltevrede, near Siyabuswa, on March 19 at about 3pm.

“During the robbery, the defenceless pensioner was reportedly assaulted and strangled where her hands were tied with a cord. The suspect then searched her bedroom and took a safe containing a 7.65 mm pistol as well as an undisclosed amount of cash and bundles of keys, then fled the scene.

“She was left helpless, and she sustained some injuries on her face but was later found by her granddaughter who alerted the neighbours,” Mohlala said.

Police said the two suspects had been charged with possession of an unlawful firearm and house robbery.

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