Zim Man Arrested For Murdering 7 Members Of an S.A Family, Refuses To Apply For Bail

A Zimbabwean man accused of murdering the Khoza family at their home in Vlakfontein‚ south of Johannesburg‚ is an illegal immigrant‚ the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday.

As he stood in the dock on Monday‚ where he now faces seven charges of premeditated murder‚ the court heard that the 27-year-old was using an assumed name in South Africa. He is originally from Zimbabwe. According to the state‚ the suspect had entered the country illegally.

He was arrested last week Thursday in Mpumalanga near the Lebombo border post with Mozambique. He is alleged to have been found in possession of bank cards belonging to two of the seven victims‚ police captain Mavela Masondo said ahead of the court appearance.

Residents of Vlakfontein‚ south of Johannesburg‚ gathered at the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court in their numbers on Monday‚ ahead of the appearance of two men who were arrested in connection with the murder of seven of their neighbours.

“No bail for killers”‚ “throw away the keys”‚ “no tv‚ no food‚ no special treatment”‚ were some of the slogans written on their placards.

The group‚ many of whom were dressed in political regalia‚ sang struggle songs on the steps of the court and blew whistles. A woman in the crowd lifted a child’s underwear garment into the air. Community member Thokozani Nkomo said that he was there in solidarity with the family as he knew all of the deceased – three women and four children.

“We lived with these people. They deserve justice‚” he said. “I have faith that justice will prevail.”

The suspect‚ who was wearing leg chains in the dock‚ also faces additional three charges of rape.

According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane he is alleged to have raped one child and two adults from the Khoza household.

The second accused in the matter is 61-year-old Fita Khupe‚ who is said to be from Mozambique. He has been in South Africa since 1975 and is in the country legally.

According to community members of Vlakfontein who were present in court‚ Khupe had been involved in a romantic relationship with one of the adult victims. The community had known him as Dan.

The younger suspect has chosen not to apply for bail‚ while Khupe wants to be released. Both have asked for Legal Aid. It is expected that two different lawyers will be assigned to represent them.

The case was postponed to November 12 for Khupe’s formal bail application.

As the two remain in custody for now‚ they have been separated – one will be kept at the Johannesburg Correctional Services centre (Sun City) while the other will be kept at the Johannesburg Central police station.

Family and neighbours thronged the court to witness their court appearance‚ including the father of one of the slain children.

Security was expected to be tight for the appearance of a 27-year-old man and his 61-year-old co-accused. The suspects were arrested late last week‚ said police spokesman Captain Mavela Masondo.

“The provincial team investigating serious and violent crimes… responded to information which led the team to Mpumalanga‚ near the Lebombo border post. A 27-year-old male suspect was arrested and in his possession were bank cards belonging to two of the seven victims‚” said Masondo.

“On further investigation‚ a second suspect‚ a 61-year- old male‚ was traced and arrested in Dobsonville (Soweto).”

Masondo said the 27-year old would face an additional charge of rape. The death of the seven family members shocked the nation. They were found murdered with “sharp objects” and buried under piles of sand at their home on Monday‚ October 29.

Speaking at their funeral on Sunday‚ Minister for Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini said it hurt that the victims were allegedly harmed by a person they regarded as family.



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