Gang ‘hitman’ denied bail over likelihood of witness tampering

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Mar 2, 2021

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Cape Town - One of the men suspected of the 2018 killing of one-year-old Tashwell Junior Nel from Retreat during a drive-by shooting has been denied bail after a judge ruled that there was a likelihood of him interfering with witnesses.

Brandon Beukes, who along with 10 other members of the notorious Junky Funky Kidz (JFK) gang, was charged last year with a spate of murders, including that of Nel who was killed while sitting on his uncle’s lap in a parked car outside his home.

Acting judge Nobahle Mangcu-Lockwood said: “A significant factor is that the JFK gang operates in the Steenberg area, where the accused grew up and is familiar with people. There were furthermore eyewitnesses to the alleged offences, including a Section 204 witness, which suggests that the applicant is familiar with the identity of the witnesses.”

Mangcu-Lockwood said: “Because the witnesses are known to the applicant and live in his community, the applicant will more than probably influence and intimidate them. This is more so given his alleged role of a hitman and his apparent authority to issue orders for the murder of people in the name of the JFK gang.

“I am also mindful that, according to the State’s affidavit, witnesses who were to testify against members of the JFK gang in another case were shot at, leading to the arrest of a member of the JFK gang. This suggests that the modus operandi of the JFK gang is that of not only intimidating witnesses but seeking to eliminate them,” said Mangcu-Lockwood.

Beukes claimed in his bail application that, if he was granted bail, he could earn money to look after his wife and their four-year-old daughter. However the prosecution produced an affidavit from Beukes’s wife that said before his arrest he was unemployed and only did odd jobs.

Mangcu-Lockwood said: “It appears that his claims of financial loss as a result of incarceration are overstated.”

According to Mangcu-Lockwood, Beukes lied in his bail application about his previous convictions, saying they amounted to housebreaking and robbery.

Mangcu-Lockwood said: “In fact, he has three previous convictions for theft, malicious injury to property and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. This shows that (he) has a propensity for serious criminal activity involving firearms and ammunition, which by definition are very serious crimes.

“Given the circumstances of his alleged offences, there will be sense of shock and outrage in the community should he be released on bail,” said Mangcu-Lockwood.

Cape Argus

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