Johannesburg – Supporters and fellow congregants of Sandile Mantsoe say the devil attacked him for doing the work of the Lord.
Speaking outside court 13 at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday morning, one of the women - who asked not to be named - said that Mantsoe was a good person.
"I never thought that what he did was right, but at the same time, when you understand your Bible and the times we are living in, we know the work he has done for the Lord, we know where he comes from, and where he was going, this could have happened to anyone, but unfortunately, it had to be one of us," said Mantsoe’s fellow congregant from the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lyndhurst.
Another congregant said Mantsoe was an evangelist and a God-fearing man who would preach at church, adding that the devil attacked him for doing the work of the Lord.
"He is quiet, he is calm. He is not the first to do the work of the Lord and have the devil fight him. The person that you see standing there, that's how he is. I was shocked to hear the news, and I'm still hurt," she said, her eyes teary.
She said that some members of her congregation had gone to visit the Mantsoe family on Tuesday night, ahead of the bail application on Wednesday to pray with them.
"They are crushed, they are hurt. It’s painful. I don’t even know where to start because, as a parent, I would never want that to happen to my child at the hands of another child. They didn't ask for this to happen, but that's why we want the two families to reconcile and get some closure," she said.
The church members, who were not allowed inside the packed courtroom because of lack of space, said they sympathised with the Mokoena family and wished them strength and courage.
"You must understand, we are living in a time where the devil is taking charge of those people who profess to be working for God, especially once you dedicate yourself too much to God. You become an enemy to the devil. This could happen to anyone, all of us were shocked," said another.
"In due time, we will try to get the families together and facilitate that, let them meet and talk, vent, you know; allow them to cry and weep and express how they feel, and we will take it from there. We are here for both families, as a church, because they have both lost a child at the end of the day," said the woman who asked to remain anonymous."
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority has defended a magistrate's ruling which has barred the media from reporting on the "sensitive" details emerging in the bail application of Sandile Mantsoe.
Spokesperson Phindi Louw said the bail application contained sensitive information that may have directly impacted on the investigation, which is still underway.
"As much as we respect the media's role to educate and inform the public... we should also guard against it tampering with the strength of the State's case," she said.
Magistrate Carel Labuschagne ruled that the media be barred from reporting on the details of the bail application, but said they would be allowed to report and broadcast the judgment.
The application was postponed to June 9.