Nine of the 14 suspects accused of necklacing eight young men in Zandspruit could either flee or intimidate State witnesses, the court heard.
(Photo by Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle)
- Nine people among 14 suspects linked to the Zandspruit fatal mob justice have been denied bail.
- Two others abandoned their bail application, while three were granted R3 000 bail each.
- The three, including a mother of five, were granted bail on strict conditions.
Nine of the 14 people accused accused of necklacing eight young men in Zandspruit have been denied bail over fears that they could flee or intimidate State witnesses.
Tebogo Mabula, Mziwamangwane Witbooi, Njabulo Zwane, Phakiswa Tsengiswa, Maxwell Mpofu, Klaas Masemola, Joshua Mabodze, Alfred Mollo, Everyone Moyo, Phillimon Seemela, Douglas Tshuma, Charles Ramashia, Phiwe Khubeka and Peter Mufamadi appeared in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for the outcome of their bail application.
However, only Khubeka, Tsengiswa and Seemela were granted R3 000 bail, while Mpofu and Moyo abandoned their bail bid.
Magistrate Ruby Mathys said she had denied the men bail because they were either flight risks, had previous convictions and pending cases against them, were unreliable, and had warrants of arrest issued against them.
The 14 are alleged to be part of a vigilante group operating parallel with the Community Policing Forum (CPF) in Zandspruit.
Mathys said the CPF members want all suspected criminals to be handed to the police, while the vigilante group preferred taking the law into their own hands.
The 14 suspects were part of a group of over 200 people alleged to have kidnapped nine young men from their homes between 18 and 19 May.
The victims were taken to Masemola’s yard, where they were assaulted and later taken to a soccer field where they were brutally assaulted. Tyres were also put around their necks, doused with paraffin and set alight.
Four died on the scene and four others later died in hospital.
One young man survived and is in hiding.
“When the victims were being assaulted, other onlookers cheered, while families of the victims pleaded for them to be handed to the police,” said Mathys.
Mathys warned the suspects that they could be sentenced to life imprisonment should they be convicted.
“The community is opposed to the accused being released. Violence will probably erupt, and their safety will not be guaranteed should they be released on bail. Their release will disturb the peace that currently prevails in the area. Their release will undermine public peace. I have considered probabilities that they will endanger the public and could commit other offences if they are released.
There is a likelihood that they could influence and intimidate witnesses. The decision to grant or deny is not always an easy task. The charges against the accused are no doubt of a serious nature.
“According to the investigating officer, the murders have shocked the South African community at large because of its gruesome and merciless character. This is a serious indictment on our society to think that people can so be so violent towards another human being,” said Mathys.
Tsengiswa is the only woman among the suspects.
She has five children and was ordered by the court to reside with her mother and children in Randfontein while out on bail.
“Tsengiswa is not healthy, and prison is more cumbersome to her than her co-accused. Her feminine sanitary needs were not provided [for] in prison. Tsengiswa’s five children may experience separation from their mother. Her children’s rights will not override all other aspects of the case.
“She is bound to the court jurisdiction through her family and employment. Her children reside with her mother. She has a warrant of arrest of theft pending against her,” said Mathys.
Seemela shall reside in Northriding, while Khubeka has been ordered to reside in Muldersdrift until the finalisation of their case.
Mathys ordered Khubeka, Tsengiswa and Seemela to notify the investigating officer prior to changing their workplaces or home addresses.
“They must report to the Honeydew station commander every Friday between 06:00 and 19:00. They must inform the investigating officer in writing if they intended to travel outside Gauteng.
“They must not make any contact with State witnesses. They shall subject themselves to monitoring by the investigating officer,” Mathys said.
Mathys said Seemela had demonstrated his readiness to stand trial.
“He voluntarily handed himself over to the police. He provided an alternative address which was verified. Evidence against him is debatable.
“Khubeka has provided an alibi. The question raised is whether he was present when the four were killed at the soccer field. Khubeka’s identity as a perpetrator is reliant on a single witness,” Mathys said.
The case was postponed to 27 October.
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