Vlakfontein murders' suspect fears co-accused plans to kill him

12 November 2018 - 13:20
By Tankiso Makhetha
The two  accused for the murder of seven people in Vlakfontein appeared in  the Lenasia magistrate's court.
Image: Thulani Mbele The two accused for the murder of seven people in Vlakfontein appeared in the Lenasia magistrate's court.

One of the two men accused of killing seven members of the Khoza family in Vlakfontein pleaded with the court to ensure his safety as his co-accused has allegedly threatened to kill him. This came out in the Lenasia Magistrate's Court where a 27-year-old man and Fita Khupe, 61, appeared on charges of murder on Monday.

The pair face seven counts of murder and theft after bank cards of the deceased were also found in their possession. The 27-year-old also faces three charges of rape. According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane he is alleged to have raped one child and two adults.

Police found the bodies of three women and four children buried inside the house on October 29. This after the neighbours raised the alarm about the foul smell coming out of the property.

William Sekgatja, who represents the 27-year-old, told the court that his client asked to be moved from the Johannesburg Central police station’s holding cells as he has been receiving threats from his co-accused who is being held at the Johannesburg Correctional Facility, also known as Sun City. 

“The issue is that of safety, your worship. He is saying that accused two is threatening him and that there are people he is working with,” Sekgatja told the court. 

Tumi Maunye, the prosecutor, told the court that the state was aware of the threats and had made arrangements to have him moved to Krugersdorp Correctional Facility. The 27-year-old further made an about-turn and joined Khupe in a bid to be granted bail after he chose to abandon the application last week. This resulted in the matter being postponed to November 20 and 21.

Magistrate Maggie van der Merwe said this was done to allow for the applications to be heard simultaneously. “The state had prepared for accused two’s [Khupe] bail application. The state is not in a position to go through with both applications today. I also understand that accused two’s lawyer needs to obtain a statement made by accused one in order to prepare fully for the application,” said Van der Merwe. 

The pair was jeered as they made their way down to the holding cells after the matter was adjourned. 

Gauteng MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane told members of the community who had gathered outside court to submit a petition against the pair’s bail applications.