Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Skielik multiple-murder accused Johan Nel was declared fit to stand trial yesterday but the crowd that normally gathered to dance in protest hardly took any notice.

Instead of hurling abuse and demanding that Nel be released into their hands, they danced joyously outside the court to the sounds of gospel singer Solly Moholo.

Moholo, accompanied by Cosatu representatives, arrived before the proceedings and belted out Jacob Zuma's popular Umshini wami to the delight of the crowd - who gave up their placards to dance.

Nel, 18, appeared yesterday in the Swartruggens district court before magistrate Andre Kleynhans and confidently answered, "Onskuldig" (not guilty), after the charges were read to him and he was asked to plead.

Nel is accused of shooting and killing Tshepo Motshelanoka, 10, Ikgopoleng Moiphitlhi, 31, and her three-month-old baby Keditlhotse, and 39-year-old Sivuyile Dinana in the Skielik informal settlement in February .

He is also facing six charges of attempted murder after Margaret Madibane, Sina Moiphitlhi, Kelebogile Seruthe, Maria Seruthe, Alex Mahlakula and Christina Loutering were injured.

He is also charged with possessing an unlicensed firearm and 109 rounds of ammunition.

Margaret Madibane, a survivor, said: "I prayed that he would be declared fit to face the music. It is time for the law to get on with its business."

Kleynhans postponed the case to July 14 so the directorate of public prosecution can decide when the case will go to the high court and whether Nel will be facing the same charges.

"I trust the directorate will speed up the process, bearing in mind the sensitivity of the case." Kleynhans said.