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Boot 'lenient' magistrate, say angry residents

By unknown | Aug 18, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

A small town has declared war on a "lenient" local magistrate and Free State Premier Beatrice Marshoff.

They insist that both must go.

Led by Ngwathe municipality executive mayor Moeketsi Moshodi they marched to the court to demand the removal of magistrate Jacob Steyn.

To rousing applause Moshodi said: "We as the ANC all decided this at our recent conference despite rumours that the party is torn apart."

Moshodi insisted that Free State chairman Ace Magashule should step into Marshoff's shoes.

The march by residents from Heilbron and surrounding areas was also backed by the ANC Youth League and Women's League, who demonstrated outside the Heilbron magistrate's court on Friday.

Residents burst into song praising Magashule before Moshodi could finish his speech. "Re eme mona re batla Magashule wa rona (we are here demanding our Magashule)."

The protesters said they were angered by the recent release on bail of Petrus Lenesa, who is accused of killing his wife Maditaba Pheko on Women's Day in Phiritona township outside Heilbron.

They claimed that the magistrate had unfairly granted Lenesa R1000 bail despite his facing serious charges.

Moshodi said: "We are not happy with the manner in which Steyn released Lenesa back into the community.

"He is facing serious charges and deserves to be in custody until the end of the matter."

He said Phiritona residents were also shocked when they saw Lenesa in the township a few days after he was arrested.

"We heard that he was released to arrange his wife's funeral despite being the accused. Where is justice?" asked Moshodi.

Moshodi said last month seven alleged child rapists were released on bail by the same court.

"The man is not looking after the interests of society," he said. "If he releases child rapists how can we trust him?"

The residents also demanded that Lenesa's case be heard by a woman magistrate who was not from Heilbron.

The memorandum was accepted by court manager John Mosia, who promised to pass it on to the relevant officials.

Lenesa is expected back in court on August 27.

Moshodi said the party in the province had long waited for Magashule to become the premier.

Moshodi described Magashule as a leader who would bring changes and stability and fight poverty in the province.


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