Brits - The arrested National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) member accused of attempted murder will continue his bail application at the Brits Magistrate's Court on Friday.

The 37-year-old man is accused of shooting Malibongwe Mdazo, a branch leader of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). The State alleges that the accused shot Mdazo five times on July 22. 

The shooting was believed to be linked to a fight for turf between rival unions NUM and Amcu.

On Thursday the accused, who could not be named or have his photograph published for security concerns, denied the charges against him.
He told the court he was not a flight risk and keeping him in custody was having an "impact" on his family.

"There are people wearing green T-shirts, others are singing outside. Who are they and what do you think they are here for ... in support of your bail application or against it?" Magistrate Reagan Rosenberg asked the accused.

"They are Amcu members. I think they are against my application," he replied.

"Do you think if I release you on bail you will be safe? I am worried about your safety,"  said the magistrate to which the accused replied: "My continued incarceration is affecting my family. I cannot be kept in custody just because Amcu members are in court."

The accused, who is employed by Lonmin as a mineral process officer, told the court that he is a member of the NUM. The married father of three children said no one threatened him after he made a statement to the police and was subsequently released. 

Investigating officer Sergeant Aaron Khunou said the accused was released on 17 September because, at the time, the police did not have "a strong case against him".

However, when police eventually obtained a statement from the gunshot survivor, Mdazo, the sergeant said the case against the accused strengthened leading to his rearrest.

Khunou told the court that out of seven witnesses, only one stated that he saw the accused and Mdazo wrestling for a gun. He added that it would be risky to grant the accused bail as his life would be in danger.

The bail application continues Friday.