The long arm of the law has finally caught up with a man accused of strangling an elderly woman in her Monte Vista home in Cape Town more than six years ago and robbing her of jewellery and a DVD player.
Andile Gobo, 27, of Nyanga, made his first appearance on Monday in the Parow Regional Court, before magistrate Constance Nziweni.
He is charged with murder, aggravated armed robbery, and housebreaking with intent to commit robbery.
Gobo had an accomplice, Thulani Mtoto, who is currently serving 25 years in prison on the same charges.
The accomplice was sentenced in June two years ago by a different magistrate in the Parow Regional Court.
His appeal, against the convictions and sentence, was dismissed by the Cape High Court.
On the first two charges, murder and aggravated robbery, Gobo faces two prescribed minimum sentences of 15 years each.
At Monday’s proceedings, the magistrate carefully explained his rights, namely that he could appoint a privately-funded lawyer, or request free legal aid representation, or do his “own talking”, which means to conduct his defence himself, without legal representation.
Gobo chose to do his own talking.
The magistrate informed him that both the murder and aggravated armed robbery charges carried sentences of 15 years jail each, if found guilty, and for this reason it was in his best interests to rather request legal aid if he could not afford a private lawyer – but not to do his own talking.
Again, Gobo said he preferred to do his own talking.
The magistrate warned again that the charges were very serious, and again he said he would do his own talking.
The magistrate said she would rather postpone the case, to give him time to think about it.
She added: “I strongly advise you to get legal representation, regardless of your feeling that you are innocent.”
The penny finally dropped, and Gobo this time said he wanted legal aid.
He added: “There is no need to postpone the case for this purpose – I have made up my mind.”
Prosecutor Daniel Cloete alleges that he, with Mtoto, broke into the home of Hester Roberts, 70, in the early evening of a Friday night in August, 2010.
Her son was expecting her for dinner that night, and became suspicious when she failed to arrive and did not answer her telephone.
He went to her home, to find the front door open, the house in disarray and her body on the floor with a piece of her clothing shoved into her mouth.
– African News Agency