There was jubilation in the streets of Ficksburg after eight police officers arrested in connection with the assault and murder of Andries Tatane were denied bail in the Ficksburg Magistrates Court.
Thousands of protesters who had gathered outside the court from early this morning sang and chanted after magistrate Phillip Visser announced his decision to deny the police officers from the public order policing unit in Bloemfontein bail.
Visser told the packed courtroom that after considering evidence before the court and rulings in other similar cases, he had found that it was not in the interests of justice to release the accused on bail.
Quoting sections of the Criminal Procedures Act, Visser said he had considered the outrage and shock that followed Tatane’s killing and the likelihood that releasing the suspects on bail could destabilise public order considering Tatane’s standing in community and the circumstances around his death.
Visser said releasing the accused on bail would also undermine and jeopardise the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system.
It emerged in court that two of the accused were diabetic. However, Visser said they too should remain in custody but their medical needs were to be catered for.
The Tatane family and members of the Meqheleng Concerned Resident, who organised the protest delivery march that culminated in Tatane’s death, expressed satisfaction with the verdict.
The case was postponed to June 2 for further investigation.