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Pietermaritzburg - Close friends of a Pietermaritzburg motorsport and biking enthusiast who was stabbed to death at an all-night takeaway have expressed their outrage about his alleged killer’s being granted bail.
Sboniso Edward Dlamini, 28, of KwaMnyandu location, was released on bail of R1 500 by Pietermaritzburg magistrate Ntsoaki Ndawonde on Tuesday.
Dlamini is charged with the murder of 23-year-old Jake “Khumalo-boi” Smith, who was stabbed to death at the Armitage Road KFC drive-through in the early hours of July 6, after an altercation with Orlando Smeekes and Dlamini, who was the driver of Smeekes’s hired Toyota Corolla.
Smeekes is a former Maritzburg United footballer who was brought from the Netherlands to play for the city’s football team.
The State opposed Dlamini’s bail application, submitting that Smith’s murder had sparked public outrage and if released on bail, Dlamini’s life would be at risk.
However, Ndawonde found that it was in the interests of justice to release Dlamini on bail.
He would not live at his usual residence while on bail.
The matter was adjourned to September 16 for the post-mortem report to be concluded and for further witness statements to be taken.
A large contingent of Smith’s friends, who picketed outside court before the bail application, said they were upset and angry about the outcome.
“I’m completely shocked. Is this what justice is? Is that what Jake’s life was worth? R1 500?” a visibly upset Chris Ireland said.
A close friend, Kelly Burn, said she felt it was unfair for Dlamini to be granted bail considering the offence he was alleged to have committed.
“He gets to go shopping and drive his car and spend time with his friends and family. Jake is gone… That is not justice,” she said.
The altercation that claimed Smith’s life happened after Smeekes allegedly accused Smith and his friend, Robin Volmink, of jumping the drive-through queue.
It is alleged that Smith and Volmink had decided to stand at the outlet’s drive-through window while waiting for Volmink’s girlfriend to drive up.
Smeekes allegedly jumped out of the vehicle and approached Smith and Volmink, accusing them of jumping the queue.
Smith allegedly denied the accusation and an argument between the two men ensued.
According to witnesses, the verbal altercation escalated into a physical one, with Dlamini alleged to have jumped out of the car and joined the fray, armed with a knife.
Smith was stabbed and Dlamini allegedly sped away, but later handed himself over to police.
Smeekes has not been charged.
He was scheduled to leave South Africa for the Netherlands the day after the incident, but because he is a witness, he will have to stay in the country until the case has been concluded.