Johannesburg - Judgment in the bail application of the seven men accused of killing Zimbabwean national Elvis Nyathi was handed down today at the Randburg Magistrate's court.
Bail has been granted to all seven of the accused, and the case will continue on 7 July 2022.
Bail was set at R3000 for each of the suspects. The judge stated that bail was granted on the condition that they do not contact any of the witnesses involved in the case.
The judge took into account that none of the suspects were in possession of a passport and that there was no evidence that they had ever travelled anywhere outside of the borders of South Africa. Thus, she deemed it unlikely that they would try to flee.
The men face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and extortion.
She reiterated that if they do not show up in court on 7 July, a warrant would be issued for their arrest.
The seven men are accused of beating and then burning Elvis Nyathi in Diepsloot last month.
The incident occurred amidst protests fuelled by the growing anti-foreign sentiment that had gripped the community of Diepsloot. The situation was exasperated by claims that seven people were murdered by an illegal immigrant in the area.
This resulted in residents going around asking individuals they suspected to be foreigners to produce documentation, proving that they were in the country legally.
When confronted by the mob, Nyathi is said to have fled, but he was pursued. The mob then proceeded to beat him in full view of his wife, Nomsa Tshuma, 38. Nyathi was then burned, and he succumbed to his injuries.
The United Nations has expressed growing concern about the ongoing violence, intimidation and harassment against foreigners in South Africa and has urged the government to ensure their human rights are respected.
In March, the United Nations representative in South Africa, Ayodele Odusola, said: “Over the recent past, we have noted with deep concern as movements such as Operation Dudula are illegally forcing people suspected to be undocumented foreign nationals to show their papers. Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Nyathi and with all of those families affected by similar violence in the recent months.”