four men accused of murder get bail

A FOUR-MONTH long wait in the police holding cells yesterday came to an end for four men accused of murdering the boyfriend of an ANC councillor in the Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality in Limpopo.

The four were finally granted bail in the Thabamoopo magistrate's court yesterday.

This was despite that they had confessed to the murder of Manale Coloured Motebejane.

They had also implicated Motebejane's girlfriend, Ramaredi Patricia Mphahlele, of having hired them to kill him.

The four are Moses Mmurwa, 21, Gift Mphahlele, 18, Prince Maribe, 21, and Andries Kgomo, 28. They were granted R2000 bail each while the councillor was granted R10000 bail on September 30.

During their previous court appearance on October 28, Magistrate S Matshaba had recommended that an outside magistrate should preside over the bail application of the four men.

Yesterday the magistrate, who was only identified as Tshehla, took everybody by surprise when he granted them bail.

They are expected to appear in court again on December 4 alongside Mphahlele, who is the fifth accused.

They all face murder charges.

Prosecutor Thabo Mathabatha failed to convince Tshehla to deny the men bail despite having indicated that the case was a Schedule 6 offence, which meant it was a serious matter.

Tshehla said there were no exceptional circumstances that prevented him from granting bail to the applicants.

"The court is convinced that even if the four accused are granted bail, they will not be a danger to society," Tshehla said.

Motebejane was found dead at his home at Mamaolo village near Lebowakgomo on August 16.

After investigations by police, the four men accused were arrested at a tavern in the village.