TUT students plan to march after cops granted bail

2018-10-23 16:12
Captain Joseph Rapoo and Constable John Slender covering their faces during their first court appearance. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Captain Joseph Rapoo and Constable John Slender covering their faces during their first court appearance. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

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Students have cried foul after the two police officers charged with the murder of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student Katlego Monareng were granted bail by the Soshanguve Magistrate's Court on Tuesday morning. 

In their first court appearance, Captain Joseph Rapoo, 51, and Constable John Slender, 38, who have been charged with murder and attempted murder, covered their faces as they entered the dock. 

This was after minor scuffles in court as students tried to force their way past police in an attempt to enter court to listen to the proceedings. 

The court heard that the State would not oppose bail as neither of the accused was seen as a flight risk. The State said it also did not believe that the men would interfere with the investigation and witnesses. 

Rapoo and Slender's lawyers also read out affidavits in court in support of bail. They both stated that the accused own immovable property and have families for which they are breadwinners. 

Read: 2 cops arrested over TUT student's death during SRC election dispute

Both accused have also said they intend to plead not guilty to the charges and want to stand trial in order to clear their names.

Magistrate Hanlie Luus, in her judgment, said that both accused had made a case for bail and set bail at R2 000. 

Upon hearing the judgment, students voiced their displeasure and disbelief at the granting of bail. 

Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania member Sthembiso Mncube told News24 that they were very unhappy with the ruling and would soon march to the Department of Justice to voice their frustrations. 

Accused's version not supported by evidence

Monareng was shot dead in August during violent protests following TUT student representative council elections on the Soshanguve campus. 

At the time of the protests, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson Moses Dlamini said police had been called to the scene after students allegedly held a presiding officer hostage and assaulted him.

As police headed out, about 200 students barricaded the entrance to the campus.

"The police reported that they fired at the ground with R5 rifles and that when they left, no one was injured, but police vehicles were damaged. The police were later informed that a student had been shot and injured," Dlamini said at the time.

Read more: IPID nabs alleged 'shooter' and 'commanding officer' for TUT student's murder

On Monday, IPID arrested Rapoo and Slender, who are stationed at the Soshanguve police station, and took them to the Pretoria North police station where they were detained.

According to information reliably received by News24 on Monday, it is alleged that the constable was the shooter and that the captain was the commanding officer who allegedly gave the order to open fire.

Dlamini said evidence IPID had collected did not confirm the men's version that they shot towards the ground. As a result, both were charged with murder.

The case has been postponed to January 25, 2019.

Read more on:    tut  |  ipid  |  pretoria  |  courts  |  crime  |  police

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