The Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court denied bail to three men after they were arrested for allegedly selling drug-laced muffins to pupils at Pulamadibogo Primary School.
The trio — 19-year-old Amukelani Nyulunga, 21-year-old Ofentse Maluleka, and 29-year-old Katlego Matlala — face 43 counts of attempted murder for allegedly selling muffins laced with a substance with a narcotic effect to children.
“It is alleged that on Wednesday, September 20, the two accused Nyulunga and Maluleka sold these muffins to school children from Pulamadibogo Primary School, in Soshanguve Block Y,” Lumka Mahanjana, Gauteng regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.
It is further alleged that after consuming the food, the children started vomiting, experiencing stomach cramps, and behaving strangely at the school.
The school principal then called for ambulances, which took the children to clinics before they were transferred to hospital for further observation.
“Nyulunga and Maluleka were arrested on the same day of the incident. Matlala handed himself to the police, and was arrested on September 26, after evidence linked him to the offence,” said Mahanjana.
“In court the three asked to be released on bail because they will be unable to provide for their families should they be kept in custody. They further told the court that they intend to plead not guilty to the charges.”
However, the district court prosecutor, Luyanda Nkwale told the court that the State had a strong case against the three, therefore should they be granted bail, there was a likelihood that they might interfere with the witnesses, who are young children.
“Moreover, the three did not try in any way to challenge the strength of the State’s case,” said Mahanjana.
Magistrate Reginald Thulo agreed with the State, indicating that should the three be released on bail, there is likelihood that they will evade trial.
“Over and above, the community has a strong eye on the case and are looking to the courts to ensure that justice is carried out,” said Mahanjana.
“Furthermore, releasing the three will disturb the public confidence in the criminal justice system, as a result the community might take matters into their own hands and that will pose danger to the three accused.”
The magistrate added that the three failed to show the court that the interest of justice permits their release on bail, and therefore the trio was denied bail.
The matter was postponed to December 12, for further investigations.