Durban - Drama unfolded when two of the men charged with killing artist Clinton de Menezes tried to escape from the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court, triggering pandemonium as they ran out of the courtroom.
Siyabonga Khoza and Bongani Makhathini saw an opportunity to slip from the grip of justice moments after the tea break, and grabbed it.
Khoza had appeared earlier on Friday for two separate charges of house robbery in Westville.
The pair were led out of the cells to the dock when they made a run for it before they could appear in front of Magistrate NN Ngcobo.
Makhathini rushed to the courtroom door, ignoring instructions from the orderlies for him to stop, while Khoza was close behind him.
They were apprehended in the courtyard moments later, after being cornered by two officers who had chased after them.
Colonel Jay Naicker, police spokesman, said security was tight at the court and there was no reason for people to panic over the incident.
“Two court orderlies were present inside the court. The court was full and members of the public were instructed to close the door when they entered. Someone had left the door open. The suspects saw an opportunity to escape and were apprehended in the building,” he said.
Khoza and Makhathini, along with Tevin Lungani Ngidi and Ntokozo Langa, are facing charges of house robbery and murder.
A fifth suspect, Burndian Fisto Alimasi, appeared on charges of having stolen items in his possession. Alimasi might also be charged as an accessory.
During the hearing, defence lawyers for the five accused, Fundi Ngcobo and Thobeka Bhengu, abandoned the bail applications.
Prosecutor Stan Milaszewski said the group had been linked to numerous house robberies in Westville.
The magistrate postponed the hearing for further investigation.