Traditional healer Thokozani Msibi (first from left), Brilliant Mkhize, Themba Thubane and Knowledge Mhlanga inside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga. Photo: ANA

WITBANK - Three of the four men accused of kidnapping two children from their home in Hlalanikahle in Mpumalanga who were later found murdered, were on Monday denied bail by the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.

Delivering the judgment before a packed courtroom, Magistrate Darleen Venter said Brilliant Mkhize, Themba Thubane and Knowledge Mhlanga failed to provide evidence that there were exceptional circumstances that necessitated their release on bail.

“The court finds that there is nothing exceptional for you to get bail,” said Venter.

“The justice system will also be undermined by your release and it will disturb peace in the community. Members of the community are outraged [by the kidnapping and murder]. They have been protesting outside this court since the beginning of this case until today,” said Venter.

Another accused, Thokozani Msibi, was denied bail by the same court on March 6.

The two children were kidnapped on January 28, allegedly by three men who entered the house through a broken window. The headless body of a 13-year-old girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, was found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan, east of Pretoria in February. The body of 15-month-old Nkosikhona Ngwenya was found on the side of the N4 freeway in Mpumalanga in the same week.

Venter said the court also considered evidence presented by prosecutor Fanie Mavundla that the accused’s alleged premeditated plan was not entirely executed. She said this was because they allegedly mistakenly kidnapped Nkosikhona who was not an albino, instead of another albino baby boy they were targeting in the Shabane family.

“It was deliberated that they must throw him into a disused mine shaft. When they did not find the shaft, they went to the freeway and threw him over a bridge into the water and reeds,” said Venter. 

Gabisile’s mother, Annah Shabane, welcomed the judgment and thanked community members for their support.

A crowd of people, who included members of the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance, celebrated the judgment by singing and dancing outside the court.

The case was postponed to June 1 for further investigations.

African News Agency/ANA