Bail appeal dismissed for murder accused

By Drum Digital
14 August 2016

Two of the people accused of being involved in the murder of Port Elizabeth police officer Nomatamsanqa Tsitsi had their bail appeals dismissed by the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday.

By Nomzamo Ngcobo

The accused, including the deceased’s husband Mlungisi Tsitsi, were previously denied bail by the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court. The murder took place in November last year. At the time, the couple was experiencing marital problems and they were living separately.

Stating their reasons why they should be granted bail, Ndiphe Soqokomashe (46) said he runs a grocery shop and two taverns where he makes around R24 000 per month. He said his wife helps him run one of the taverns and the shop, while his brother helps with the other tavern.

“My wife cannot run both the tavern and shop in Mandela Street by herself and while I am in custody, the business is struggling,” he stated in an affidavit.

Soqokomashe further stated that he has minor children who all depend on him financially.

The second accused, Msindisi Bhebhula (25), said in an affidavit that he works for Transnet as a specialised driver, and that he earns between R13 000-R18 000 depending on the amount he makes on overtime.

He stated that he doesn’t own fixed property, but he said he bought a bank-financed car worth R178 500 in 2014.

“If I am not released on bail, I would not be able to pay my instalments on my vehicle as I would not be able to work and it would be repossessed by the bank,” Bhebhula said in his affidavit.

Judge Nomathamsanqa Bheshe dismissed the appeals. In her judgement, she said she was unable to find that the magistrate’s decision to deny the accused bail was wrong.

“In my view, it cannot be said that the State’s case against the appellants, albeit being of a circumstantial nature, is of such a weak standard that it amounts to an exceptional circumstance, which is the interest of justice and permits the release of the appellants on bail. The appellants have not succeeded in showing on a balance of probabilities that it is so,” she said.

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