Security estate stabbing: Family happy the accused was denied bail

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Leon Coetzee was denied bail on Friday. (Deaan Vivier)
Leon Coetzee was denied bail on Friday. (Deaan Vivier)
  • Leon Coetzee is accused of stabbing Thembinkosi Thabethe to death.
  • Coetzee alleged that Thabethe was the aggressor, and that he acted in self-defence.
  • The State says Coetzee ran after Thabethe, who was then stabbed while lying helplessly on the ground.

The family of Thembinkosi Thabethe, who died after being stabbed at a security estate in April, are happy that the man accused of his murder, Leon Coetzee, has been denied bail.

Thabethe will be buried in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

Coetzee, who faces a charge of murder, was denied bail by the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Coetzee is accused of stabbing Thabethe three times outside his house in Green Acres Estate, in Montana, on 26 April. 

Thabethe died in hospital on 1 May. 

READ | Man accused of killing neighbour over WhatsApp row claims it was 'self-defence'

Thabethe, who also lives in the estate, apparently went to confront Coetzee's wife about a message addressed to her on the estate's WhatsApp group.

News24 previously reported that the message, sent by another person, was screengrabbed and sent to the estate group, which sparked outrage.

Thabethe was also mentioned in the message. 

The message in question, which was in Afrikaans, said Coetzee's wife should concern herself with those "pigs" and that TT is very corrupt. 

READ | Man accused of murder following WhatsApp message row denied bail

During the bail application, Coetzee argued that he acted in self-defence, that Thabethe was the aggressor, and that he also attacked a neighbour. 

However, the State said it had evidence that Coetzee chased after Thabethe, stabbing him twice and then a third time as he was lying on the ground, defenceless. 

Handing down judgment on Friday, the magistrate, Thabo Ramahanelo, said Coetzee had failed to prove that exceptional circumstances exist, which permits his release on bail. 

Reacting to the outcome, Thabethe's cousin, Musi Skosana, said the dismissal of bail was a relief to the family because they feared they would be laying Thabethe to rest, while Coetzee was not in custody.

READ | WhatsApp message allegedly sparked deadly stabbing in Pretoria, court hears

Skosana said they understood Coetzee had the right to bail, so there had to be a fair hearing, but "it's just that the timing of the bail issue, [that] was an issue to us".

Skosana said the family were still distraught and in disbelief, but were happy with the proceedings.

"They can't believe that such a heinous act could happen in this day and age, especially when you have chosen to live in an estate. The very place that's meant to be secured, is now unsafe to them."

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