‘Junior Cisko Yakkies' gang members fail in bid for separate trial

A metro cop has been sentenced to time behind bars for demanding a R300 bribe. Stock image.
A metro cop has been sentenced to time behind bars for demanding a R300 bribe. Stock image.

Three alleged members of a notorious Cape gang have failed in their attempt to be tried separately from their co-accused.

The judgment, handed down earlier this month, dismissing the alleged members of the Junior Cisko Yakkies (JCY) gang’s bid has lifted the lid on the atrocious crimes the syndicate is accused of. Sadiq Williams, Moegamat Alie Smart and Shaline Naidoo are among 14 people on trial at the high court in Cape Town on 101 charges.

Daron Mann talks to the devastated mother of 5-month-old Ezam Makhabane and the aunt of 6-month-old Kwahlelwa Ndongeni, the two babies who died in an East London daycare centre on the same day, about the trauma and uncertainty their families are facing. The parents are yet to find out the truth about what transpired and took their babies' lives. The babies died within hours of each other a month ago. Autopsy reports are awaited to ascertain the causes of their deaths.

According to the state, they unleashed a reign of terror in Lentegeur, Phillipi, Kleinvlei, Nyanga and Mitchells Plain between March 2008 and September 2019. The alleged gang members, who have been jointly charged under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, apparently had streets, parks and open fields under siege. They also allegedly robbed motorists.

Williams faces an attempted murder charge, possession of an unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. The state alleges that he shot a person in Mitchells Plain in August 2018.

Williams and Smart are also accused of killing Tasriq Attwood in September 2018. Naidoo faces an attempted murder charge and a murder charge. The state accuses him of shooting dead Erwin Human in Mitchells Plain in October 2016. 

“In the indictment, [Naidoo] is also charged ... for the murder of Wazeem Abrahams on November 2 2016, during which event the state alleges he was in possession of an unlicensed firearm and unlawfully in possession of ammunition,” the judgment reads. “...the state alleges that he attempted to murder Manuel Hamilton by shooting him with the firearm. In the indictment, the state alleged that [the three] and the remainder of the accused were part of a ‘criminal gang’.”

“In the indictment, the state alleges that [Williams, Smart and Naidoo] and the other accused belong to a criminal gang, that has as one of its activities the commission of one or more criminal offences, including the commission of crimes of violence, which includes murders and attempted murders, the illegal possession and use of firearms, drug possession and drug trafficking,” the indictment reads.

As part of this criminal activity, the state alleges that they made themselves guilty of the robbery of vehicles and that ... [Williams, Smart and Naidoo] and the accused are members of the JCY, a criminal gang, who individually or collectively engaged in a ‘pattern of criminal gang activity’ as set out in the indictment.”

Judge Robert Henney dismissed the application for separation of trials this month.

“It is difficult to determine at this stage whether the joinder of the applicants together with the other accused in one trial would infringe upon the applicants’ right to a fair trial,” Henney said in the judgment.

“The right to a fair trial is not static and can be influenced by a variety of factors and circumstances peculiar to the criminal trial. At this stage, it would be difficult to conclude whether the joinder of the applicants would render the trial unfair.”

Henney said the “mere fact that the accused may be prejudiced is not sufficient grounds to order separation of trials, where it would be in the interest of justice in a case like this to have a joint trial. Especially in a case like this, when an accused would stand trial with members of the same gang he or she belongs to, and where they committed criminal acts in furtherance of the interests of the gang, which forms part of a pattern of criminal gang activity to which they contributed. I conclude for all reasons mentioned, that the joinder is not impermissible.”