A caretaker of a retirement village is one of five people who appeared in court on Monday afternoon in connection with the murder of two elderly residents.
Nomgebisi Slangveld (34), who has been with the St. John Stella Londt Center for the Elderly in Port Elizabeth is being charged with the murder of Agnes Elaine Burns, 91, and Rosemary Langton, 89.
Langton and Burns were both downtown residents in the Sunridge Park neighborhood.
Only Slangveld and Dananet were initially charged with the murders. But on Monday afternoon, charges of conspiracy to murder and money laundering against Nayange, Mabwe and Madiro were changed to murder.
Adv. Prosecutor Marius Stander said in the local magistrate’s court that the investigation is ongoing and further charges may still be added.
Stander said Nayange, Mabwe and Madiro are foreigners and the state has yet to determine whether they are legal in the country.
Dananet has three previous convictions of burglary and one count of assault, while Nayange has a previous conviction for possession of stolen property.
Stander argued it was a Schedule 6 felony. The state will oppose bail for the accused.
The case was postponed to Tuesday and will appear in court 25 (bail court), where a date for a formal bail application will be set.
The five accused were arrested in the early hours of the morning after a week-long investigation.
The victims were found dead on their beds in their respective rooms on the first floor of the center.
Their hands and feet were tied with garments and their mouths were glued. An autopsy showed they were suffocated and there were strangled.
Krugerrands, gems and watches that were stolen were apparently found in the Kuyga informal settlement on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, owned by one of the suspects.
Police did not want to say in whose home the stolen items were found.
George Woods, CEO John Group, on Monday afternoon, expressed dismay at one of their workers involved in the murders.
“It is difficult to understand what led to this action. We are deeply upset about the situation and we will do everything possible to prevent a recurrence. ”
Staff at the center will go through a selection process again and their crime history will be carefully checked, Woods said.
Safety measures in and around the center are also being improved.
Woods said he is grateful to police and their own forensic team for the progress in the investigation. According to him, the investigation is at a sensitive stage, and the resort is currently lighting up other homes under similar circumstances.