Police Minister Bheki Cele says the South African Police Service (SAPS) must do all it can to ensure that five siblings from Rethabiseng, east of Pretoria, are back in the classroom when schools reopen on Monday.

The children and their mother went into hiding after their father was murdered three weeks ago.

53-year-old Julius Ndomba Nyundu was gunned down in their presence.

According to the family, Nyundu was a key witness in the murder case of fellow resident Mandla Ledwaba who was killed in a dispute over a vehicle in July 2018.

The three accused in the Ledwaba case are expected to appear in the Bronkhorstpruit Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

It is alleged that the police were aware that the witness was intimidated by the accused.

Cele has ordered a full-scale probe into Nyundu’s killing.

“I hope this information is in a full [top] level now … of the provincial commissioner [Lieutenant General Elias Mawela] and myself. But the protection of the people especially those who give evidence must be always honored.”

“But fortunately or unfortunately in South Africa, the structure of protecting witnesses is not with the police. It falls within the justice authority. So to have the person [witness] dying or killed it’s a serious indictment. So we really need to work on that and find out who dropped the ball,” says Cele.

Journalist allegedly intimidated

Meanwhile, last week, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) condemned the intimidation of Pretoria-based SABC Radio news journalist Phanuel Shuma for covering the murder case.

Shuma was forced to lay a charge of intimidation with the police on Thursday.

This was after two brothers accused of murder and a prosecutor accused of taking a bribe to derail their case, visited the SABC offices in Pretoria.

The SABC News radio journalist says when the men arrived at the SABC offices in Pretoria, he was afraid to meet them in person and instead spoke to them on the phone from the safety of his office.