Ernest Mabaso(27) and Fifita Khupe(61) in the Lenasia Magistrate's court. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - The bail hearing of Ernest Mabaso and Fita Khupe, who allegedly murdered seven members of the same family in Vlakfontein, has been transferred to the Protea Magistrate's Court because of loadsheding. 

The Lenasia Magistrate's court postponed the matter to Thursday after several hours without electricity. 

Mabaso, 27, and Khupe, 61, were expected to apply for bail on seven counts of murder and theft on Wednesday. 

Mabaso is also facing three additional charges of rape.

"I am bound by what the law says that a lower court may not postpone bail application for a period exceeding seven days, so we  will have to transfer the matter to the Protea Magistrate's court for Thursday,” Magistrate Maggie van der Merwe told the court. 

"We need to get everything on record, it is impossible to write everything down since we don't have electricity." 

On October 29, neighbours alerted police to a foul smell coming from the Khoza family's house in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg. The police broke down the door and made the gruesome discovery.

Seven bodies had been concealed with piles of sand on the floor. There were blood stains on the wall.

During the pair’s previous appearance, Mabaso asked the court if he could be moved from the Johannesburg Central police station’s holding cells because he had been receiving threats from his co-accused who is being held at the Johannesburg Correctional Facility, also known as Sun City. He was moved to Krugersdorp Prison.

“The issue is that of safety, your worship. He is saying that accused two is threatening him and that there are people he, accused two is working with,” Mabaso's lawyer told the court when they appeared earlier this month.

Mabaso had previously indicated he would be abandoning his application for bail. However, he later opted to submit a formal application which led to the matter being postponed.

Community members of Vlakfontein gathered outside court to protest against the bail application.

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African News Agency (ANA)