Magistrate blamed over killing

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

A Butterworth magistrate could find himself in trouble for setting free a man who subsequently allegedly kidnapped and stabbed his 14-month-old son to death on January 11.

Baby Akhona Luwaca was buried in Ngculu village at the weekend.

His grieving family are now threatening to take Silumko Zwelibanzi, who presided over the case, to court for having set the boy's father free.

Sakrszeat Rabier, an Egyptian national, was arrested on January 4 after he had allegedly held the boy hostage and threatened to slit his throat with a knife.

He was charged with attempted murder and appeared in the Ngqamakhwe magistrates' court on January 8, when Zwelibanzi released him on a warning. He was due to appear in court again on February 20.

Rabier subsequently allegedly stabbed the boy to death in yet another hostage drama during which he was shot and injured by police.

He is presently recovering, while under arrest for murder, at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.

The family say the magistrate should not have released Rabier on January 8.

"The magistrate must answer for what he did. We will seek legal advice on this matter because we really need answers from him," said the boy's aunt, Nombuyiselo Luwaca.

She said her family had been unable to follow up the issue because they were busy with the funeral arrangements.

Luwaca said her sister, Nangamso, who is the boy's mother, had been traumatised by the death of her son.

She expressed concern that the trauma would worsen when the Rabier's trial started.

"We blame the judicial system for failing to protect our child," Luwaca said.

Zolile Nqayi, spokesman for the Eastern Cape Justice Department, said the Luwacas were entitled to take legal action if they so wished.

Butterworth magistrates' court chief prosecutor, Vela Balfour, said action was being considered against Zwelibanzi.

"I have asked for the case records so that I can go through them," Balfour said.