Johannesburg - The State does not have a strong case against 61-year-old Fita Khupe, lawyer Gerhard Landman told the Protea Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
Landman told the court that if the State was relying on the deceased, Ernest Mabaso’s confession for Khupe to not be granted bail, they do not have a strong case.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Tumelo Maunye argued that the State does have a strong case against Khupe.
Khupe was expected to apply for bail, he is accused of the murder of seven Vlakfontein family members.
On his last appearance, the court heard that his co-accused, 27-year-old Mabaso committed suicide in a cell in Cape Town.
Police had transported Mabaso from the Krugersdorp prison‚ where he was initially held‚ to Cape Town‚ as they sought information that he said could help prove his case that Khupe was also involved in the murders.
During his bail application‚ Mabaso had given incriminating evidence against Khupe‚ claiming he had ordered the hit on the family.
However‚ Khupe has denied any involvement and his lawyer also said Mabaso falsely implicated Khupe in the incident.
“My client is likely to be acquitted because so far the State does not have enough evidence that implicates him in the Vlakfontein murder,” said Landman.
Maunye argued that Khupe should not be granted bail because he might flee the country.
“If Khupe is granted bail, he is going to disturb the public’s peace since we all know that they are still angry,” said Maunye.
Maunye reminded the court that when it started with the case Mabaso asked to be separated from Khupe because he was being threatened. After he was moved, Landman asked the court if they had that evidence.
“No evidence was provided before the court showing that Mabaso was really being threatened,” said Landman.
Community leader Rebecca Moloi took the stand to say the community was against Khupe being granted bail.
She handed over a petition containing about 2‚000 signatures from residents who said they were tired of crimes against women and children going unpunished.
"We don’t want Khupe to be granted bail‚" said Moloi.
“Since Khupe was a foreign national‚ there was no guarantee that he would not flee South Africa.”
Magistrate David Mhango postponed the matter to February 4 for ruling weather Khupe should be granted bail or not.
Khupe will remain in custody until his next appearance.
African News Agency (ANA)