Cape Town – Tempers flared outside the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court as residents turned on the mother of 4-year-old Iyapha Yamile’s murder accused.
Police had to come to her rescue.
Residents said the comments of Thabo Titus’s mother outside court, defending him and saying he was incapable of committing the crime, had deeply hurt the bereaved family, their neighbours and the community.
Police intervened as the woman and her daughter locked themselves inside a taxi which had brought them to court.
With the crowd blocking the taxi’s exit and some trying to open it, community leaders called for calm, allowing the police to escort the taxi out of the area.
This was shortly after two accused, Titus and Thabiso Mtshanguta, had made a brief court appearance. Their matter was postponed to May 29 for a formal bail application.
Mtshanguta is the father of Iyapha Yamile’s friend, with whom she had been playing at the time of her disappearance on April 30.
A packed Courtroom 1 was under heavy police guard as about 200 residents from Khayelitsha and members of the Khayelitsha Development Forum, SA National Civic Organisation and Social Justice Coalition marched outside to demand that bail be denied.
Sanco’s Danisile Mfazwe said: “We have forwarded a memorandum to the magistrate saying we do not need such people in our communities.”
Earlier, three shacks belonging to the suspects were burnt to the ground by members of the community.
Iyapha’s body was found stuffed in a bloodied plastic bag a stone’s throw from her aunt’s house in Khayelitsha on May 1.
Her family had suspected she may have been raped as her lower body was bloody.
The last time her family saw her was when she returned from church with her mother, Sindiswa Yamile.
Following Wednesday’s court appearance, Iyapha’s father Danile Ngongoshe said: “Iyapha’s mother has confirmed that she knows the two suspects. One of them lives behind the house of Iyapha’s aunt where she had been visiting that day. The other suspect stays in front. He is the father of my child’s friend.”
Ngongoshe said they supported the State’s position, opposing bail for the suspects.
“The residents are angry. They have already demonstrated that and it could be worse if the suspects are released on bail,” he said.
The family are preparing for Iyapha’s funeral, to be held in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape, at the weekend. A memorial service in her honour was held in Khayelitsha on Tuesday.
“We are leaving on Friday. The funeral is going to be on Saturday. We are overwhelmed by the support we have been receiving from all over, from residents, organisations and within our family. This kind of support is something I never expected, but I was surprised by the amount of support shown to us,” said Ngongoshe.
The case was postponed to May 29 for a bail application.
While the Khayelitsha community were mourning Iyapha’s killing, a 25-year-old father, Ntuthuzelo Mayekiso, was arrested and charged with the murder of his 14-month old daughter, Lindokuhle Kota.
She was declared dead after being taken to Khayelitsha Hospital by her grandmother on Saturday. Lindokuhle had been in the care of her father after he requested to spend time with her following his release from prison.
Mayekiso appeared in the same court on Tuesday. His case was postponed to next Tuesday.