Elvis Nyathi’s cousin, Mphathisi Ndlovu, expressed disappointment after the court granted bail to seven people who allegedly murdered the Zimbabwean national.
Ndlovu said Nyathi’s family would be very disappointed, since they perceived SA as a country that recognises human rights.
“We don’t understand why the court decides to give bail to people who [allegedly] killed someone in a brutal way. As the family we are scared,” Ndlovu told TimesLIVE after the proceedings were adjourned at the Randburg magistrate’s court.
He alleged that witnesses who were also attacked during the mob violence and had identified the accused are at home in Zimbabwe and are scared to return to SA.
Nyathi’s widow was also too scared to return to SA, despite being needed to identify her husband’s killers, Ndlovu said.
Nyathi was assaulted and burnt in April when some residents from Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, embarked on alleged acts of vigilantism, attacking Zimbabwean nationals.
Residents accused the Zimbabweans nationals of committing crime in the area. They allegedly robbed some of the victims of their belongings and demanded money from their relatives in exchange for the release of those they held in captivity.
Ndlovu spoke of his family’s helplessness after Nyathi’s killing.
“There isn’t much that we can do, but even other family members who stay there are always scared to attend court proceedings. They don’t want to be spotted by family members of the accused. We just hope they will be safe,” said Ndlovu.
Cedrick Raseala, 41, Baron Mashele, 31, Godfrey Mahlo, 31, Thomas Serebane, 53, Phumudzo Tshirangwana, 38, Thabo Makgatho, 32, and Puleng Chipape, 34, are charged with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, four counts of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, robbery with aggravating circumstances and extortion.
The seven were granted bail of R3,000 each.
State prosecutor Dinesh Nandkisoor opposed bail. He submitted an affidavit from the investigating officer stating that if the accused were released on bail there was a likelihood they would endanger the safety of the public, attempt to evade trial, influence or intimidate witnesses and their release would jeopardise the functioning of the criminal justice system.
The court, however, granted them bail.
NPA regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said they accepted and respected the decision of the court.
“The court ruled that the accused were suitable candidates to be admitted to bail, taking into consideration their right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty as well as that bail serves to secure the court attendance by the accused,” she said.
When magistrate Hleziphi Mkhasibe delivered the judgment on the bail application, she said the state didn’t demonstrate the role of each accused in the commission of a crime.
“I am mindful that this is not a trial court but if they want to demonstrate that the case against the accused is strong, the least they could have done is to demonstrate that,” she said.
Their case was postponed to July 7.