Cranks closure raises cold case questions

Rosebank Thai restaurant closes its doors giving rise to speculation with regard to the Betty Ketani trial.

The room in Kenilworth where a confession letter was found, 13 years after the alleged crime. Picture: Chris Collingridge/The Star.

JOHANNESBURG - The management of Rosebank Mall on Thursday declined to explain the circumstances surrounding the closure of popular Thai restaurant Cranks.

The restaurant emerged as a key part of a 13-year-old murder case which was cracked earlier this year, after a confession letter was found beneath a carpet in Kenilworth, south of Johannesburg.

Police believe the murder was carried out to silence Betty Ketani, who worked there and was embroiled in a fight over wages.

The popular restaurant shut down recently and is now an empty shell with paper covering most of the windows.

Mall management said the owner closed up last week Monday, just days after news broke that six men were arrested for the murder of Ketani.

While media reports saying the owner was planning to relocate to Thailand were published last year, the timing has fuelled speculation that the two events might be linked.

Management declined to say whether Cranks owed any rent, saying only that the lease had not been renewed.

The bail application of three of the accused was postponed on Wednesday when a mystery witness came forward.

The case is due to resume next week.

The announcement of a mysterious witness on Wednesday prompted the postponement of a bail application in the Betty Ketani case.

The affidavit that derailed Wednesday's proceedings came from Herman Broodryk, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions at the South Gauteng High Court.

Broodryk claimed to have received new information late on Tuesday, following media coverage of the case and led them to exhibits that directly implicate the accused.

This information is expected to dramatically change the outcome of the bail application.

Two of the accused in the case were already released on bail, while the third accused abandoned his application.

The identity of the witness is, at least for now, a closely guarded secret but by Friday the state will have to give the defence teams more information about the nature of the evidence which has emerged.