Suspect in deputy mayor murder in court

2017-04-19 06:02
PHOTOS: nokuthula khanyileANC supporters protest outside the Richmond Magistrate’s Court.

PHOTOS: nokuthula khanyileANC supporters protest outside the Richmond Magistrate’s Court.

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THE small town of Richmond came to a standstill last Thursday when the suspect, in connection with the killing of deputy mayor, Thandazile Phoswa, made a brief appearance in court.

Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse an angry crowd of ANC supporters who gathered outside court, burning tyres and blocking traffic.

The supporters were carrying placards calling for justice and respect for women, some of them read: “Stop killing our leaders” and “Samkelo Chili must fall”.

Phoswa was shot in the head last Sunday night in the Ndaleni area allegedly with the firearm belonging to the suspect who works as a private bodyguard in Umshwathi Municipality.

Samkelo Thobani Chili (35) appeared briefly before court facing charges of contravening the tenets of the Firearms Control Act and failure to lock away his firearm in a prescribed case.

Wearing a stripped blue and white shirt and charcoal pants, Chili told the court he will represent himself during the proceedings and didn’t want any legal representation.

Prior to the court proceedings, the ANC regional leadership met with Richmond Magistrate’s Court systems manager, Buhle Pahla, to inquire why it had taken more than two hours for the case to be brought before court.

Pahla said this was due to load shedding the court was experiencing which she said would also result in the adjournment of the case to a later date.

The court adjourned the case to April 13 to verify the safety of the accused and for a formal bail application.

The accused will remain in custody.

ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma also at court said they were shocked to learn the suspect had not been charged with murder.

“When we met with the prosecutor this morning we were mesmerised by their indications to want to withdraw the case because they say there is insufficient evidence against the accused. We are also disappointed of the pronouncement made by the prosecutor inside court to ascertain the safety of the suspect while we have lost the secretary of the ANC. We hope while the accused is still in custody law enforcement officials will do further investigations to ensure justice is served.”

Zuma issued a stern warning to police who dispersed the crowd of ANC supporters outside court. “We want the police to know that they will not intimidate us, their commander must recruit the whole province because we will be back here soon with a bigger crowd and they will not overpower us,” he said.

Phoswa’s memorial service was held last Thursday at the Agricultural Hall.

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