Bail for man accused of IFP murder

2012-11-19 17:44

Durban - One of the five men accused of shooting dead an Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporter was granted bail by the Durban Regional Court on Monday.

Prosecutor Cyril Selebe did not oppose bail for Bonginhlanhla Gwala as there "is a strong possibility that the State's case against him might be in doubt".

Gwala is accused of killing Cebesile Shezi, who was shot dead near the Thembalihle railway station, in KwaMashu, on 6 October.

The four other accused are Mjabulelwa Gwala, Malusi Sibusiso Ncengwa, Skhumbuzo Nxumalo and eThekwini ward 39 councillor Mgezeni "Bhungu" Gwala.

Court proceedings on Monday were initially delayed when recording facilities in the court room malfunctioned.

The case was then further held up when prosecutors and defence counsel visited Gwala's home to view closed circuit television footage.

In granting bail, Magistrate Simpwe Hlhophe said that although the footage was not clear, "the State concedes he may in fact have been at home [at the time of Shezi's killing]".

He said he was satisfied that Gwala had presented exceptional circumstances which allowed the court to grant bail.

Gwala was released on bail of R20 000, on condition that he remain at his home between 18:00 and 06:00, and that he report to the Durban North police station three times a week.

He is allowed to leave the eThekwini municipality only after informing the investigating officer.

The other four accused remain in custody. Their bail hearings resume on 23 November.

Supporters of the National Freedom Party and the IFP were present at the court and police controlled access to the court.

There were far fewer police than at the five men's previous court appearances.

NFP supporters sang and danced outside the court afterwards.

Shezi was killed shortly after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa addressed IFP supporters at a sports field in A-section, KwaMashu on 6 October. He had been wearing an IFP T-shirt,

Mthethwa had spoken to the IFP supporters in an attempt to reduce tension in the area after the abduction of IFP councillor Themba Xulu, who was later murdered.

Xulu was out on bail at the time for allegedly attempting to burn down Bhungu Gwala's house. He was later found murdered.