State opposes bail for the three Phoenix unrest murder accused
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DURBAN - THE State is opposing the bail application of the three accused who are facing murder and attempted murder charges related to the violence that took place in Phoenix during the unrest three weeks ago.
The trio appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Dylan Govender, 29, is facing one charge of murder and attempted murder; his brother, Ned Govender, 30, is facing a charge of murder; and 39-year-old Jeetendra Jaikissoon is facing a charge of murder.
State advocate Nelson Mbokazi told the court that the State intended to oppose bail for all three accused.
He said if released, the safety of the three could be in jeopardy.
He also said the men might also interfere with investigation processes.
Representing the two brothers, attorney Kessie Naidu stated that his clients intended to plead not guilty and denied any involvement in the violence.
The two brothers are working at a family business as co-managers. He said they are on chronic medication as Dylan has high cholesterol and asthma, while his brother, Ned, has asthma.
Reading their affidavits in support of their bail application, Naidu said Dylan and Ned were on their way home when they were approached by a group of 30 armed men.
He said the group opened fire toward the pair’s vehicle, and Dylan then fired a warning shot towards the ground, and the crowd dispersed.
Jaikissoon’s attorney, Chris Gounden, told the court that his client was working as an insurance broker and was also on chronic medication for diabetes.
He said Jaikissoon was at his home when he saw a group of people approaching his homestead and vehicle, which was parked next to the road.
“I walked towards the group and threatened them with a stick I was carrying so that they could leave. I immediately went back to my house after they had left. (I) was shocked when police came to my house looking for a panga,” he said.
The accused also cited that they had not yet been vaccinated for Covid-19, which posed another health risk as prisons are overcrowded.
Testifying on behalf of the State, investigating officer Sergeant Siphosenkosi Emmanuel Shezi told the court that CCTV footage from a house near where the incident occurred was used to identify the three suspects.
He said the footage corroborated a statement by a witness.
Describing the footage, Shezi told the court that five unarmed black men were walking on the road when a vehicle stopped next to them.
He said the men attempted to flee, but a group of people from different houses came out with pangas, golf clubs, wooden sticks and bush knives.
He said the footage showed the accused assault the men while Dylan was seen shooting a man.
“Other black men managed to hide. An Indian man came and took the victims to safety,” said Shezi.
He said part of the evidence against the accused included the footage, and all the accused were positively identified in an identity parade.
However, Shezi told the court that the police did not have the original video footage as they had received a report that the house from where the footage had come had been broken into and a hard drive, which contained the footage, was stolen.
He said investigations were still ongoing.
Shezi said should the applicants be released on bail, it might result in public disorder.
“The community is angry and wants revenge if justice is not served. The only reason why the situation is calm is that there are SANDF members on the ground, but they won’t be there forever.”
Shezi also read out a petition with nearly 100 signatures from Inanda, Ntuzuma and areas around Durban, where they called for the State to oppose bail.
The bail application continues today.