Jubilation as men accused of xenophobic violence granted bail

Supporters of Norba Chairmen and Secretary general outside the Ntuzuma court where they appeared on Arson and Public Violence charges.
Supporters of Norba Chairmen and Secretary general outside the Ntuzuma court where they appeared on Arson and Public Violence charges.
Image: JACKIE CLAUSEN

There was jubilation and singing outside the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court where two men arrested in connection with the looting of foreign-national-owned shops in Inanda‚ south of Durban‚ were granted bail.

The two men‚ Mandla Sibaya and Mlungisi Mncube - who face charges of public violence‚ arson and attempted murder - were arrested after foreign-national-owned spaza shops came under attack in Inanda two weeks ago.

During their bail application their lawyer‚ advocate Thokozani Ngcobo‚ argued that the arrests were motivated by their position within a community organisation.

"It is clear that the two applicants were only charged because they are leaders in a community organisation‚” said Ngcobo.

Sibaya and Mcube are the chairperson and secretary general respectively of the North Region Business Association (Norba) in the Inanda/Ntuzuma/KwaMashu (INK) area. The group has been engaged with the government over their concerns about foreign-owned shops operating in townships without licences since 2014.

The investigating officer‚ Mthokozisi Msweli‚ said he opposed bail because he feared that the men would interfere with the investigation and threaten victims who had opened the case against them.

However‚ delivering her judgement magistrate Busi Mkhulisi said: “There has been no evidence that the applicants will threaten the alleged victims or tamper with witnesses. There is no evidence that they will try to evade their trial because they have fixed addresses.”

The men were released on bail of R 1‚500 each and will have to report to their local police station every Friday until the matter returns to court on October 4.

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