Phoenix murder suspects abandon bail application
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There was jubilation outside the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Thursday after three men, accused of brutally killing one man and injuring others during last month’s unrest in Phoenix, abandoned their bail application.
Brothers Dylan and Ned Govender and their neighbour Jeetendra Jaikissoon, all from Phoenix, were expected to continue with their bail application yesterday, but decided to abandon it.
The brothers’ new attorney Carl van der Merwe told the court he wanted to watch the video clip that the State used in opposing the bail, before deciding whether or not his clients would re-apply for bail.
The pair’s previous lawyer withdrew from representing them, citing ethical and professional reasons. The matter was adjourned to September 13. Dylan stands accused of murder and attempted murder, while his brother Ned and Jaikissoon each face one count of murder.
Outside court, African Freedom Revolution leader Bishop Bheki Ngcobo said they were happy the suspects would remain behind bars. He said by abandoning bail they brought huge relief to victims’ families who had been attending court.
“We understand they may try to re-apply for bail after their lawyers watched the video clip that the State used to oppose bail, and we will still come back in our numbers to oppose it,” said Ngcobo.
Phezukonke Mthethwa, Justice For Phoenix Massacre Victims spokesperson, also hailed the suspects’ decision to abandon bail.
The trio was arrested on July 22 after the special police unit tasked with investigating the murder of 36 people in Phoenix during the unrest, obtained a video which the State claimed clearly showed the men participating in the attack on five men who were walking on the road.
During the attack, Mondli Majola from Amaoti in Inanda was killed, three men were left seriously injured, while one escaped. So far 31 suspects have been arrested and linked to the Phoenix killings, and are applying for bail. The murders, which many believed were racially motivated, have drawn a lot of attention from society. Fearing an outbreak of racial conflict between Indians and blacks, the government deployed soldiers in the areas bordering Phoenix and Inanda where most of the victims were from.
Meanwhile, alleged Glenwood Woolworths looter Mbuso Moloi, 30, yesterday told the Durban Magistrate’s Court that he no longer intended pleading guilty, as he had previously indicated. The matter was adjourned until October 12 for further investigation.
Moloi is accused of public violence, theft, trespassing, and contravention of the National Road Traffic Regulations 2000 (operating a motor vehicle with a number plate displaying a license number not applicable to the motor vehicle). His appearance relates to the looting of a Woolworths store in Glenwood on July 12.
He is out on R5 000 bail with conditions that he surrender his passport and may not leave the province without consulting with the investigating officer. He must now also report to the Pinetown Police Station every Wednesday and Sunday between 6am and 6pm.
Andile Mzwandile Biyela, 23, also appeared in the same court yesterday. He stands accused of killing two people and injuring another in Quarry Heights, north of Durban.
Biyela was arrested on Tuesday night at KwaMashu Hostel where he was hiding. He is from Siyanda, near Newlands East. He appeared briefly in court where the matter was adjourned until October 26 for his bail application.
Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said Biyela and another suspect allegedly went to Mpungushe Road in Quarry Heights where four people were in a house. During the attack Mthandeni Mpofana, 30, and Mxolisi Gida, 46, died, while Luyanda Ntuli survived and sustained minor injuries after a bullet grazed her.
Gwala said further arrests were expected.