Residents who recently protested outside the Queenstown magistrate’s court have welcomed the decision to remand in custody a 32-year-old man accused of murdering his partner in Enkululekweni.
The Rep reported (Group opposes bail for murder accused, March 12) that several gender-based violence activists picketed outside the court to support the refusal of bail for the accused who allegedly killed his pregnant girlfriend with a hammer in front of his children on February 7. The woman reportedly died in hospital.
When the investigating officer took to the stand to oppose his release during court proceedings, he stated that the accused would endanger his six-year-old child who had already made a statement, that he was likely to influence the witnesses and that he would disturb public peace and order. The officer continued to present a memorandum issued by residents of Enkululekweni and the ANC Women’s League who called for an end to the senseless violence against women.
On Monday last week, the magistrate indicated that there was no evidence provided before the court to conclude that the accused would interfere with the witness or evade trial. She stated that the court took note of the request made by the community to keep the applicant in custody as per testimony by the investigating officer, but was not satisfied with the grounds submitted to oppose release.
“The court must make an independent assessment, taking into account all the evidence that was placed before the court and by both parties and then apply the law.” The magistrate, however, said that the applicant failed to provide an alternative address, therefore ruling the application unsuccessful. The accused was remanded in custody for further investigation and will appear on April 26.
Community leader Mnqophiso Naye said they were pleased with the decision. “The Mlungisi Sanco coordinating team, residents who were picketing outside court opposing bail and men who are against this violence will continue supporting and defending women.”
Member of the ANC Women’s League Nongazi Magwashu added that the decision could not have come at a better time as it was Human Rights month. “We also recently recognised International Women’s Day. The magistrate would have failed us if bail was granted. We were worried that he (the accused) would influence the child if he came out, but our greatest fear was that he would run away,” she said.