'How Staggie was murdered'
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By Estelle Ellis
Graphic details of the lynching of Rashaad Staggie emerged for the first time in the Cape High Court on Monday as the state prepared to apply for the trial of the men accused of the gang leader's murder to be postponed until next year.
Pagad's national co-ordinator, Abdus-Salaam Ebrahim, the group's national chief of security, Salie Abader, Moegsien Mohammed, and Abdurazak Ibrahiem, believed to be a former spiritual adviser to Pagad, appeared briefly in the Cape High Court on Monday.
The state was given until Monday to bring a formal application supporting its request that the matter be postponed to January. Acting Judge Dirk Uijs refused to grant an immediate postponement.
The four face charges of murder arising from the lynching of Staggie in August 1996, public violence and intimidation for allegedly warning Ali "Phantom" Parker, the former Pagad leader, not to testify against Ebrahim at the inquest that was held into Staggie's death.
According to papers before court, the state will say a group of Pagad supporters gathered in the Gatesville mosque on the evening of August 4 1996 and then went to Salt River.
"They were approximately 2 000 in number," the papers say. "Many of them were armed with firearms and Mr Ebrahim carried a shotgun."
The state says the group carried out military manouevres and shouted slogans and then marched towards 20 London Road, which was known to be a base for "smuggling activities conducted by members of the Hard Livings Gang, of which Mr Staggie and his brother were the leaders".
"The group verbally requested the Staggie brothers, Rashied and Rashaad, to come out of the house to face the group and to receive a message. The brothers, however, were not at home and the occupants of the house were not prepared to come out, although they did speak through a security door.
"Chaos ensued when Pagad supporters opened fire on the house. Many windows were broken and the house was damaged. About 18 Pagad supporters were wounded, apparently by the deliberate or reckless behaviour of members of their own group.
"While ambulance personnel were attending to the injured persons, Rashaad Staggie arrived on the scene. Members of the group, including Ebrahim, identified him after which a group of 50 supporters approached Mr Staggie in his vehicle."
The state will claim this group started to push and shove against the bakkie. The driver's door was opened and Ebrahim and two others allegedly attempted to pull Staggie out of the vehicle. It is alleged that a shot was fired at Staggie's head, after which Ebrahim dragged him out of the bakkie.
Further shots were allegedly fired at Staggie while he was lying next to the vehicle.
The state will allege that while medical personnel were attending to Staggie, a petrol bomb was thrown at him and his clothing caught alight.
"(Staggie) got up and ran in the direction of 20 London Road. He was then attacked with a piece of wood similar to a baton, after which he fell. Pagad supporters jumped on him, kicked him and fired several shots at him. Mr Staggie died in the gutter of Number 20 London Road," say the papers.
By January, Ebrahim will have spent more than a year behind bars. Both his bail application in the Cape Town regional court and his appeal bail application in the Cape High Court were refused.
The other three men were arrested at their homes on Friday.
Arguing for a postponement until January, the deputy director of public prosecutions, Willie Viljoen, told the court the three new arrests had shed new light on the prosecution case.
He said members of the electronic media had been subpoenaed only late last week to testify at the trial. It is believed they will be required to introduce video material.