Acid attack: R1?500 bail for woman

2013-08-21 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG murder accused Ntombenhle Mkhize (34), who is charged with killing a former work colleague by pouring acid over her in the CBD in January this year, was yesterday granted bail of R1 500 by a regional court magistrate.

Mkhize testified at her bail hearing before magistrate Z.W. Ngwenya that she intends to plead not guilty to murdering Smangele Mlaba on January 14 this year.

She also complained that she had not been advised at any time, prior to her bail application this week, that she was entitled to apply for bail.

In her evidence, Mkhize said her reasons for wanting bail were that she has a child for whom she receives a child grant (which she was uncertain was still being paid); that she did not know if her brother had managed to protect her personal belongings at her home; fear that her RDP house may have been vandalised; and that she had accounts she wanted to “sort out” if she got bail.

Granting Mkhize bail yesterday, Ngwen­ya criticised the investigating officer (Warrant Officer Rajeev Soorajbally), for failing to investigate if Mkhize was a proper candidate for bail.

The magistrate cited the fact that the officer had testified that he was “unsure” whether or not Mkhize had a child or owned immovable property. He also testified he “thinks” Mkhize will not stand her trial if released and it was possible that she would interfere with state witnesses.

Ngwenya said there was “not a scrap of evidence” to that effect.

Another cause for concern was the delay in getting the case to trial, which the magistrate found was not attributable solely to the fact that Mkhize had first said she wanted to plead guilty and then changed her mind.

One of the conditions of bail imposed on Mkhize is that she must not go “near” the state witnesses in the case (whom she testified she knew).

The murder charge arose from an incident in Pietermaritz Street on January 14 this year when Mkhize allegedly threw acid on Mlaba.

The attack allegedly followed a row a few days earlier at Miguel’s Bakery where both women worked.

Mlaba suffered severe burns and died in Edendale hospital a day later.

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