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Monday, 20 November 2023 17:12

Fort Hare Killings: Director of investigations and vetting services Plaatjies appears in court.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The director of investigations and vetting services at the University of Fort Hare, Isaac Plaatjies, has been arrested on charges relating to the killing of staff members.

University spokesperson, JP Roodt, confirmed that Plaatjies was arrested in East London on Friday.

He said he appeared in the Dikeni Magistrates Court on Monday and that he was the 10th accused in the matter.

Several other suspects, in a seemingly growing list, were arrested over the past few months for the murders of fleet manager Petrus Roets, and Mboneli Vesele, the late bodyguard of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Sakhele Buhlungu.

They include the alleged coordinator of the hitmen, Zimele Chiliza, a detective constable based in Mthatha, Lindokuhle Manjati, who allegedly facilitated the transport used in the hit on Vesele, and his wife Phelisa Nkonyeni, an attorney who is implicated in paying for the hiring of the vehicles used in the attacks.

Roodt said as the matter is before the courts, Fort Hare will not respond prematurely without having insights into the charges against Plaaitjies.

He said the national task team appointed by Minister Bheki Cele is responsible for carrying out work in relation to investigations of the murder of UFH staff members, and that the legal proceedings must take their course.

The suspects are expected back in court in Dikeni (Alice) on Tuesday.

The attacks have been linked to a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe, launched last year, following forensic work conducted by the university.

The SIU had stepped in as investigators did not have the statutory powers to probe allegations of corrupt and unlawful activities between 2012 and 2022, with a specific focus on procurement irregularities in the cleaning and gardening services between 2012 and 2019; leasing of student accommodation since 2013; the appointment of a service provider for the maintenance and repair of air-conditioning systems in 2018; and collusion between officials and suppliers or service providers.