Pretoria - Muhammed Khan, who is facing two counts of murder after allegedly shooting and killing two people, said he acted in self-defence because he feared for his life at the time of the incident.
In an affidavit handed to the court in support of his bail application yesterday, he said he was not a violent person.
The 44-year-old Pakistani national is accused of fatally shooting Mamelodi businessman and social activist Mukhtar Matlala and Avela Mbewu in Pretoria West two weekends ago.
He appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court where a few members of the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) continued to show support for the families of the slain activists.
According to Khan’s version of events, a group of agitated men approached his property on Luttig Street and demanded to see the owner, who was not available at the time, to find a tenant there.
“I am the lawful owner of a residential property on Luttig Street. At about 4pm I received a call from the tenant informing me that there was a group of people demanding to see the owner.
“I was handed a phone and spoke to an unknown man who insisted that I come now. I informed him that I could see them on Monday but he insisted that I come now. He asked if I knew what now was. I then decided to go there.”
On arrival, the accused said he saw a group of about 15 men who were very agitated both in tone and body language. He said he also noticed that some of them had firearms.
The group insisted that he showed them papers that he was the rightful owner of the property, which he did not have at that moment, he said.
He was further accused of stealing the property as most foreign nationals did in the area.
Khan said at some point during the argument, he asked one of his friends to report what was happening and ask for assistance from the police.
“I invited them to meet me at the Pretoria West police station on Monday so that I could produce the documents that prove I am the rightful owner of the property. They did not believe me.”
One of the men asked him if he had any idea how many people he had killed.
As the argument escalated, the accused said he instructed one of the people to lock the property, but the group stormed it and there were firearms pointed in his direction.
He said he was assaulted and pushed.
With his licensed firearm on him, he fired several gunshots in self-defence as he did not feel safe.
He subsequently drove to the police station to report what had happened.
He said he was willing to relocate from Pretoria West and that he’d made arrangements for 24-hour security to protect him and his family as he was aware of the public's reaction.
Last week, community members and civic organisations demanded he be denied bail during a march to the Pretoria West police station to hand over a memorandum of demands. They also demanded an investigation into how his citizenship was acquired.
The protesters also demanded that all buildings and land hijacked in the metro be turned into community centres or converted into social housing.
They said the gun allegedly used to kill the two should be investigated for legality to see if it was linked to other crimes. Khan handed himself to police two days after the shooting.
Matlala and some residents were conducting raids on properties they alleged had been hijacked by foreign nationals. The bail application will continue on February 19.