Rugby: Intrigue builds in Roux murder case

Bees Roux is alleged to have killed black police officer Ntshimane Johannes Mogale.AP

The hearing of the alleged murder involving Bulls prop Bees Roux was postponed yesterday - heightening the anticipation in South Africa over a fascinating case.

The 28-year-old Roux was on the bench for the Bulls in their Super 14 final victory over the Stormers in May but faced a different bench in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, bristling with Tshwane Metro police officers, many with guns.

Facing a charge of murdering Metro cop Ntshimane Johannes Mogale in August, Roux was granted bail of R100,000 ($19,330). State prosecutor, advocate Matric Luphondo, asked for a postponement until December 10 for further investigation, saying they were awaiting, among other things, a post-mortem investigation.

To Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair, Luphondo said at this stage Roux faced a charge of murder, but that depended on further investigation. Nair said he wanted the case not to take too long before it was transferred to a trial court.

The case has opened up some old, some new, issues in South Africa - with a white rugby player accused of beating a black police officer to death.

Jacobus Stephanus "Bees" Roux was said to have been pulled over late at night for drink driving in Pretoria by 38-year-old policeman Mogale.

Roux is expected to plead not guilty to charges of murder and driving under the influence of alcohol - but a case involving a powerful Afrikaaner, a black police officer, violence and rugby has attracted huge media attention in South Africa, which cast off the shackles of apartheid only 16 years ago.

Last month, at Mogale's memorial service, the executive director of policing, Ndumiso Jaca, shocked observers when he called on ancestors to rise from the dead and haunt Roux.

London's Guardian newspaper reported that Jaca said: "Let's call on our ancestors, let's ensure we hound Bees until he tells the truth," he said, winning angry shouts of agreement. "Bees is a monster, he is a beast murdering my member with his own hands. He's huge, he's a monster."

There was further disquiet when Peter de Villiers, coach of the Springboks, talked about the Boks' support for Roux.

He said: "We definitely talked about Bees Roux. We feel for all South Africans and especially rugby players. A situation like this could happen to anybody.

"People are ugly outside, they're dirty and they try and use everything to stop us from bringing hope to the people out there. It's a tragic situation and we wish it upon nobody. The team supports him 100 per cent. Not on the deed, but ... how the situation developed."

Mogale was married with two children and had been with the Metro police for four years. The circumstances of his death have been the subject of intense media scrutiny, debate and speculation after he allegedly stopped Roux's car.

His body was found with head injuries in Schoeman Street, Pretoria, at 3am on August 27. Roux was arrested in the early hours of that day.

Investigating officer Patrick Mafanel testified: "We know Mogale was on duty along with two colleagues and that they pulled Roux over at the corner of Schoeman and Festival Streets for drunk driving.

"Mogale told his colleagues he was going to drive Roux's car home because Roux was drunk. But we don't know why the colleagues didn't follow them or see the assault."

The defence argued that Mogale was driving in the opposite direction to the nearest police stations and towards Roux's house.

Mogale was based at Region Six offices in the Pretoria CBD, which a local Eyewitness News investigation alleged was rife with corruption.

Two Metro police officers from the same region are appearing in court on Friday for allegedly kidnapping a Zimbabwean teenager, who has since disappeared.

It has been alleged that Metro police officers from Region Six targeted motorists driving out of Sunnyside and surrounding areas and threatened to arrest them if they did not pay a bribe.

It then emerged that Roux's credit card was used at a McDonald's fast food outlet at the time he was supposed to have been in custody. A 29-year-old man, Vusumuzi Ntloko, was arrested and charged with 12 counts of fraud and one of theft.

- Agencies

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