Tavern owner Pontsho Mohlanka, who is accused of killing three children at her tavern in Orange Farm, allegedly called and sent phone messages to investigators giving them false leads about the killings days prior to her second arrest.
This testimony was presented at the high court sitting in Palm Ridge by Cpt Kgabo Mohlamme, from Gauteng Detective Services.
He first met Mohlanka after she was arrested for the murder of Mzwandile Zitho, 5, in April 2020, when the boy’s body was found in her tavern.
Mohlanka and her boyfriend, who is under police protection, were arrested but the charge was provisionally withdrawn after four days.
But Mohlanka remained in custody as police further probed her citizenship. The Lesotho national later pleaded guilty to being in SA illegally and was sentenced to 10 days in jail on September 6.
Upon her release in September, the lead investigator received more than five messages claiming Mzwandile was killed by individuals residing close to the tavern.
But the following week is when two more children [Simphiwe Mgcina and Mpho Makondo] were found dead near the Orange Farm tavern,” Mohlamme told the court. The naked bodies were found on September 19 2020.
Simphiwe’s arm had a handwritten note tied to it with five names including Mohlanka’s boyfriend and neighbours. It said one of the neighbours, Muzikayise Nkosi, was responsible for all three killings.
“A few days after we found Simphiwe and Mpho, I got a phone call from a cellphone number that was not in my cellphone contacts. The caller did not want to give me their name but she told me that Muzikayise Nkosi killed the three children in Orange Farm and hung up after that.”
Mohlamme said he suspected Mohlanka made the call.
“I spent a lot of time talking with Mohlanka during her first arrest. The voice of the caller sounded exactly like hers.”
Police searched for her and found she had left the tavern.
Mohlamme said in September 2020 he spotted Mohlanka passing by a petrol station in Protea South and stopped her. He then called the cellphone number that had called him a few days earlier and the phone rang from Mohlanka’s pocket.
“I took the phone and checked its coordinates and they matched with the device that had called me and sent messages to the police a few days ago. When we questioned Mohlanka about what we had discovered, she remained silent. We arrested her on the spot,” said Mohlamme.
Mohlanka’s lawyer, Makgalanoto Kgagara, said she has never been to the area where cellphone messages were sent.