Durban – There was chaos in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday as Mohammed Vahed Ebrahim, the Phoenix butcher accused of kidnapping Sydenham schoolboy Miguel Louw, was not yet charged with murder and had his bail extended.
Ebrahim waited inside the court precinct well after his brief appearance as supporters of the murdered child and community members gathered outside the courthouse, waiting for him to exit.
Louw went missing on July 17, near his school in Sydenham, about 25 kilometres from where his corpse was eventually discovered in a shallow grave in Phoenix on September 3, a few hundred metres from Ebrahim’s home.
The body was verified as Louw’s nine days after it was discovered via fast-tracking of DNA samples taken from his parents.
The child’s grandmother -- wearing a white T-shirt printed with Miguel’s face -- broke down in the courtroom, screaming “justice, please” as she was led out by family members. By the time other family members arrived, Ebrahim’s appearance was over.
Ebrahim told journalists that he was “sad” at the public’s reaction to the case and confirmed that he and his family received threatening messages.
He had a few supporters in court; one woman told journalists she wanted justice for the child but also believed that Ebrahim was innocent until proven guilty.
A scuffle had occurred outside the courthouse as supporters of the family accosted the woman. Later, inside the courthouse, the dead child’s father -- Kirk -- confronted Ebrahim.
“Ja, you c**t,” said the father, as he strode quickly towards Ebrahim, who was standing beside the female supporter as she was being interviewed by a journalist. Ebrahim hastily retreated to the court’s coffee shop as Kirk followed but soon angrily retreated.
The State was granted an adjournment to December 5, for further investigation by Magistrate Mohammed Motala.
At Miguel’s memorial service in September, Police Minister Bheki Cele told mourners that Ebrahim’s bail would be “challenged” because of the “strength of the case”.
Ebrahim was arrested in July in connection with the child’s kidnapping and then later charged with human trafficking. He was granted bail of R2500 just days before the child’s body was discovered. He was linked to Miguel’s disappearance after CCTV footage identified him taking the boy to a fast food outlet near the child’s school. He was also found to be in possession of the child’s birth certificate.
Ebrahim, who was known to the family, has denied any involvement in Miguel’s disappearance.
African News Agency (ANA)