The men, aged between 22 and 26, are accused of murdering Jeanette Cindi, 34, and her friend Lungelo Buthelezi, 31, on Saturday when the pair returned from a night out.
Appearing before magistrate Jacob Mamabolo, State prosecutor Thabo Ntlailane said the men were being charged with two counts of murder, two of kidnapping and one of rape, with the driver of the vehicle charged additionally with reckless and negligent driving.
It is alleged the victims and their friend Ayanda Sithole were making their way home in the early hours of Saturday morning when Buthelezi was knocked over by the suspects.
Cindi and Sithole attempted to stop the vehicle, when the occupants of the minibus taxi stopped and told them they had to transport an injured Buthelezi to hospital.
Cindi, believed to be five months pregnant, was discovered by members of the community having been raped repeatedly, stoned and set alight. Buthelezi had also been stoned and set alight.
“When I was about to find help and came back to the scene, they had taken them away. My heart is definitely hurt by this. I just wish they could die here in jail,” Sithole told The Star.
Sithole managed to take down the vehicle’s registration and went to notify Buthelezi’s family.
In court, the five men kept their heads bent throughout the hearing and spoke very softly when answering questions, much to the disapproval of the gallery, which was packed with friends, family and community members, and representatives of the taxi fraternity.
The men, who admitted to the magistrate that they could not afford to have their own legal representation, were not keen on using Legal Aid. The matter was postponed to Wednesday.
Hundreds of community members waited patiently to hear what the court had decided, saying the harshest punishment should be meted out to the suspects.
Speaking to The Star, Sithole said he was happy there had been arrests.
“But my heart is still sore. What they did to my friends was horrible,” he said.
Cindi’s sister Clowy said her sister had been in serious pain, asking to be relieved of it. “When I found her, she was in a horrific state. She asked us to cut off certain parts of her body that were in pain."