Johannesburg – The community of Nomzamo in Orlando East has vowed to take the law into their own hands if the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court grants bail to the six accused of the tavern massacre in the early hours of July 11, 2022.
The tavern bloodbath resulted in the deaths of 16 people, including teenagers, when unknown gunmen opened fire inside the KwaMdlalose tavern.
Scores of community members carrying machetes and other traditional weapons marched outside the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court while the accused appeared inside on Monday.
Speaking to the court community representative and father of one of the deceased victims, Zwelibanzi Nzimade said the community was still angry and would not hesitate to take the matters into their hands should bail be granted to any of the suspects in custody.
"I can safely confirm, without fear or favour that we as families and the community will not hesitate to take the matter into our own hands should the magistrate grant any of the accused bail. Anyone can agree that the people do not deserve bail.
"If you were there on the day of the incident and after seeing our children being murdered like dogs, you would agree that they do not deserve bail. Our children were murdered like dogs, and their bodies piled up on top of each other.
“Should they be given bail, we will not hesitate to kill them with our bare hands," Nzimande told the court.
Outside court, members of the community continued to march and sing Struggle songs as they awaited the outcome of the bail hearing.
Last week, the community threatened to burn down the Orlando Magistrate’s Court in protest of the bail application. The court has adjourned until 1pm as the magistrate considers the matter. The State intends to oppose bail as it says it has enough evidence to prosecute the matter under Schedule 6.
Four of the five suspects who allegedly shot and murdered 17 people in Orlando East at the Emazulwini Tavern appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.
Orlando East residents came out in numbers and barricaded the road outside the court carrying spears and placards saying "no bail" and "justice must prevail".
Furious residents were singing and chanting, saying they would not stop until the court ruled against the suspects.
One devastated resident and the sister of the deceased, Nonkosi Ndlangisa, expressed how traumatising and devastating the incident was for their family.
"Our lives will never be the same again; my brother was brutally killed for no reason, and he left his two children at home, who are now being taken care of by me, and it is hard.
"After his death, I suffered from mental issues that led to depression and I had anger issues. I hope today we will get justice for them and the suspects will remain in jail for the rest of their lives," she said.