Acornhoek - Three people accused of kidnapping and assaulting suspected criminals were granted R1000 bail each by the Acornhoek Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Sergeant Gerald Sedibe said the three would return to court on August 14, when nine of their co-accused, who were granted bail last Monday, would appear again.

Five others, including Bushbuckridge Residents' Association (BRA) leader Delta Mokoena, also appeared on Tuesday. They would return to court on August 1.

The group is accused of kidnapping suspected criminals, subjecting them to a “kangaroo court”, and assaulting them.

Police said six of their alleged victims, who had been placed in witness protection, told how they were taken to several places and beaten.

Their assailants reportedly operated from an unoccupied government building. Other victims were allegedly forced to agree they were involved in crime.

Some residents in the area apparently reported crimes to the group rather than to the police.

Last year, Mokoena was sentenced by the same court to three years' jail for intimidation. He was granted leave to appeal his sentence.

Sedibe said previously that Mokoena faced separate cases involving arson and kidnapping.

The BRA won 1.2 percent of the vote in Mpumalanga during the May general elections. The party secured a seat in the provincial legislature.

Sapa