A group of North West farmers has raised R50‚000 for any information on a 24-year-old man who police believe was shot and killed two months ago.
The fund was set up after the Brits Magistrate’s Court denied Matthew Benson bail on Friday in his murder and attempted murder case‚ linked to the disappearance of Tebogo Ndlovu.
“People have seen the so-called deceased (Ndlovu) in Majakaneng and Bapong. This man is alive. People are afraid to hand him over to the police because he is part of the Suicide Gang. I have decided to put out a reward‚ hoping that someone will secretly give us his exact location‚ then we will trace him and take him to court‚” said Marianna‚ one of the people who helped set up the fund.
Marianna did not want to provide her surname.
“The police have failed to do their job‚ that is why we are taking matters into our own hands to help an innocent man (Benson)‚” Marianna said.
Marianna and other community members believe the Suicide Gang is a group of young men involved in criminal activities and a man who identifies himself as “Tebogo Ndlovu Jack Jack” on Facebook is part of the group.
Those offering the reward believe this man to be the same man Benson is accused of murdering.
The publication contacted “Jack Jack” on Monday and he was surprised to hear about the murder mystery.
“It’s the first time I hear of this case. I have never been to the North West and I don’t even know of a place called Majakaneng. Maybe we have the same name‚ but I am not the person they are looking for‚” said Tebogo Ndlovu Jack Jack.
Jack Jack said he is based in the Mpumalanga province and the Suicide Gang is a hip hop dance group.
Ndlovu‚ from Majakaneng‚ was last seen on August 2 and his family believe he has been killed.
“It’s the first time I hear about the Suicide Gang. There is no such thing in Majakaneng. People must stop lying. The past two months have been painful for us. All we need is our child’s body‚” said Ndlovu’s aunt‚ Nancy Sekgobela.
Ndlovu was with two friends when they went to steal oranges from a farm owned by Benson’s parents.
The trio was allegedly spotted by Benson‚ who allegedly fired in their direction‚ injuring Ndlovu.
Ndlovu’s two surviving friends claim they left Ndlovu at the Mooinooi farm as they fled the scene.
Benson was arrested on September 16 following several interviews with the police. On the day of his arrest‚ Benson was supposed to celebrate his girlfriend’s 21st birthday‚ said Marianna.
Marianna said the case changed their lives and she confirmed personally contributing R10‚000 to the reward fund.
The other amount has been contributed by friends‚ family and members of the public.
“The Benson family has been living in this area for more than 74 years and we all know that they are friendly people. Their son is innocent. The so-called deceased regularly updates his social network pages. We have told police this information but they have done nothing about it‚” said Marianna‚ who facilitated the reward.
Investigating officer Colonel Isaac Tlhapi previously told the court that he has received information that Ndlovu has been seen alive but‚ upon investigating‚ it became clear that members of the public have spotted the two surviving accomplices but not Ndlovu.
Tlhapi indicated more suspects could be arrested because a number of people were seen on the farm.
A neighbour also told police that Benson had called him to the farm on the day of the shooting. When the neighbour arrived at the farm‚ he found Benson in possession of a 9mm pistol‚ Tlhapi told the court.
Magistrate Jethro Mosime last week quashed rumours that Ndlovu was spotted after the shooting incident.
“The body is missing from August 2 to date. Six people‚ including the applicant‚ were seen at the scene immediately after the shooting incident. There is a strong likelihood that the evidence was destroyed‚” Mosime said on Friday.
Ndlovu’s family said they have not seen or heard from him since August 2.
Benson has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him. The 24-year-old is in custody and will reappear in court on November 7.