Key dates in the dry-cleaner killings

l January 3: Jocelyn Joyce Lesito, Victoria Ndweni and Constance Moeletsi are strangled on the premises of Protea Dry Cleaners, Three Rivers, Vereeniging.

l January 3: Jocelyn Joyce Lesito, Victoria Ndweni and Constance Moeletsi are strangled on the premises of Protea Dry Cleaners, Three Rivers, Vereeniging.

l January 4: The bodies are discovered by an employee of the dry-cleaning business.

l January 5: The owner of the business, Charl Colyn, writes to the families of the victims and tells them he is "devastated" by the murders.

l January 9: The Colyns' two gardeners, Samuel Mzizi and Jacob Dlamini, are arrested.

l January 11: Mzizi and Dlamini appear in the Vereeniging magistrates' court on charges of murder. Their bail application is rejected.

l January 12: Charl Colyn, his daughter Isabel, his son-in-law Jacques Smit, and a family friend, Ruan Swanepoel, are arrested on the basis of a statement made by one of the gardeners.

l January 16: Their bail application is opposed by the investigating officer, Inspector Sello Molapisi. Molapisi asks the magistrate to postpone the hearing for seven days to allow the police to complete their investigations.

l January 17: Molapisi tells the court that the murders were "racial" and arose from a labour dispute.

l January 18: The mother of Lesito, Caroline Lesito, is found carrying a bread knife in court. She tells officials she had just bought it.

l February 7: There is an uproar when the Colyns, Smit and Swanepoel are released on R5000 bail each, and Mzizi and Dlamini are granted R2000 bail each.

The case is postponed until April 24 to allow the police to complete their investigations.

l April 24: A furious magistrate W Ewart refuses another state request for a postponement, saying it has a "weak" case, and withdraws the case from the roll. He berates the police for shoddy work.

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