Five people, arrested for setting fire to properties belonging to a Limpopo man who was killed last week, appeared in a hastily arranged court session on Monday afternoon, Sowetan has learnt.
The arson suspects are Leonard Ngobeni, 24, Brown Makhubela, 19, Mpho Mohomi, 27, Ernest Mathonsi, 26, and a 17-year-old boy.
The suspects were among a group of 56 people from Ndhambi village who were arrested and charged with malicious damage to property and public violence at the weekend.
Charges against another 51 people were withdrawn because of lack of evidence. Initial reports had indicated that the suspects would appear in the Giyani magistrates' court yesterday.
The five suspects allegedly set alight a car belonging to Eleck Mokwakwa, one of the suspects in the murder of William Mabunda.
Mabunda, 42, allegedly died from injuries he sustained during a savage beating by Mokwakwa, his friend Aaron Mathebula, and Mabunda's wife, Parasina, 38.
The case against the five suspects was postponed to September 26 and they were all released on a warning.
According to Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe, police spokesman in the Giyani area, the Mabunda couple had had many arguments before Parasina allegedly ganged up with the men to attack her husband with an assortment of weapons. The group allegedly assaulted Mabunda viciously before leaving him dead.
The incident happened at the couple's home last Sunday.
The villagers' action was in revenge for Mabunda's death and allegations that Mokwakwa and Mathebula had reduced their ages when they appeared in court to avoid heavy sentences.
Ngoepe had said earlier that they were investigating allegations pertaining to perjury regarding the ages given by both Mabunda and Mokwakwa.
Ngoepe confirmed yesterday that the arson suspects had appeared in a hastily arranged court on Monday afternoon.
"The reason was that some of the suspects were arrested on Monday morning and, because there were so many of them, we had to make sure they appeared in court because there was no way we could afford to accommodate them all in our holding cells."