Four suspects arrested over murder of two MKP members remain behind bars

The accused, who are currently held at Boksburg Correctional facility, are due back in court on August 15 for bail judgment. Pic: File

The accused, who are currently held at Boksburg Correctional facility, are due back in court on August 15 for bail judgment. Pic: File

Published Jul 10, 2024


The families of the two slain uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) members, Bongani Mkhwanazi and Xolani Nzimande, have expressed relief after four suspects were denied bail on Wednesday.

The accused, who are currently held at Boksburg Correctional facility, are due back in court on August 15 for bail judgment.

A number of supporters, family members, and friends picketed and chanted Struggle songs outside Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, calling for justice and no bail.

The families said they wished for MKP leader Jacob Zuma to support them at the next court case because they believed their children died because of being affiliated to his political party.

They also said they hoped that the suspects will rot in jail in order to get closure after their loved ones were killed like animals.

The four suspects – Jackson Mphahlele, Sithembile Magasela, Mduduzi Ranyao and Sipho Xaba – appeared in court on Tuesday facing two counts of murder, and charges of common assault, assault with GBH and discharging a firearm.

Three of the accused are members of Ekurhuleni Thathazonke, a crime fighting unit known for recovering stolen vehicles and maintaining public order.

Handing down judgment, magistrate Shakera Timol said the suspects stated in their affidavits they did not know the identity of the witnesses.

She said the investigating officer stated that the witnesses knew the identity of the suspects and also produced the full names of the suspects which led to the arrest of one of them.

“The witnesses fear for their lives and have been successfully placed into a witnesses protection programme.

“A petition was further received from members of the community at Credi Section in Ekurhuleni in which they displayed strong emotions that the suspects should not be released on bail,” said Timol.

The accused failed to satisfy the court that it would be in the interests of justice to be released on bail, she said.

The lawyer representing the accused, Peter Zwane, said his clients instructed him to appeal against the judgment.

Following the postponement, Buyisiwe Mkhwanazi, the aunt of Mkhwanazi, said both families are extremely happy about the developments.

“We are happy that the suspects did not secure bail. The lawyer appealed and we are going back on August 15. We hope for the best on that day.

“They must go and rot in jail, they don’t deserve to be among people since they murdered our loved ones. Justice must prevail.

“As families we are hurting, we are in pain. They must get life sentences. As long as they are inside and feeling the extreme cold weather, their lives continue while our loved ones are dead,” said Buyisiwe.

Mkhwanazi and Nzimande were shot and killed on May 26 in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni. This was just three days before the May 29 elections.

The family strongly believe that this was a political killing.

Ekurhuleni Thathazonke Unit spokesperson, Simphiwe Khumalo, said the unit welcomed the ruling in the sense that it will not do anything or act otherwise.

“We are relieved that we got an opportunity to appeal and go to a higher court. We strongly feel that the magistrate was punching above her weight. She is an acting magistrate and we picked up some few things while we were there which points that she was very junior to be given this case because of the public pressure.

“We picked up a few mistakes she made even other court matters which were set at that court. We saw people facing serious cases such as murder getting bail. We feel she was not supposed to be given this case. She buckled under pressure from the community,” said Khumalo.

He said two of the accused have once been convicted for other crimes years ago and have demonstrated that they are people who attend cases until they come to an end.

“There is a contradiction because in her judgment she said she is doing this to protect witnesses who are known by the suspects.

“The witnesses are not known by the suspects because they handed themselves in at the police station after the incident and they were told to return the next day and indeed they did go back, so there was no pointing out that it was done for any person.

“The only person who was pointed out was not one of our members. The witness was not seen by the accused. We really do not know how did the magistrate arrive at her decision.

“We looked at the judgement and it is not clear how she arrived at the decision. It is not in the suspects’ nature to abuse the community and they are known for helping.

“We think the case was too big and we look forward to see the case handled by a senior magistrate who is well experienced. We are appealing the matter,” Khumalo said.

He said they are disappointed with the magistrate.

Khumalo said they are working well with the MKP that is attending court to support the families.

The Star

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