Rubber bullets fly at bail application

2015-10-14 17:04
(Picture: Twitter)

(Picture: Twitter)

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Polokwane - Police in Limpopo fired rubber bullets and teargas at the bail application of a traffic officer accused of kidnapping a newborn baby whose mother has gone missing.

The traffic officer and her co-accused appeared in the Malamulele Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after being arrested two weeks ago.

Masingita Chavani, 45, attached to the Malamulele traffic office, and John Sithole, 22, are accused of kidnapping Hlulani Maswanganyi’s newborn baby, Timothy Mbavala.

The month-old baby was found at the traffic officer's house days after relatives complained that the teenage mother - who was with the accused - had sent them messages indicating that she was not safe.

The whereabouts of the baby’s mother are still unknown. Police said they were investigating the matter.

Community believe mother was killed

But members of the community believe that the teenage mother was killed for her baby.

Maswanganyi was last seen with the traffic officer who allegedly told relatives that they were going to help the mother acquire a birth certificate for the baby.

It is alleged that the 17-year-old mother sent an alarm after she was separated from her child and not taken to home affairs, as promised.

In court on Wednesday, members of the family expressed their frustration. The uncle and the father grabbed the accused, demanding answers. The police intervened.

The situation turned violent outside court too, with members of the community pelting the court building and police van with stones, demanding that the accused be released and show them where they left Maswanganyi.

Police used rubber bullets, teargas

Police retaliated with rubber bullets, teargas and a water cannon to disperse the crowd who were baying for heads of the accused.

Community leader Mageza Mahlawule said as community leaders they would try to show leadership and calm the situation.

"It is hard for us to deal with this matter as you can see people's hearts are still angry," he said.

Women in the community also took off their panties to protest.

Magistrate Cedric Baloyi postponed the case to October 26, saying the prosecutor who is handling the case was not available due to ill health.

"I hope this day he will be back so we proceed with this matter. It will also allow the case to go for further investigation as the teen who is kidnapped is still missing," said Baloyi.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  crime

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