WATCH | Coka brothers' killing: Mpumalanga safety MEC concerned about reaction if accused get bail

  • Five men have been charged with killing the Coka brothers following an altercation on the farm Pampoenkraal on 9 April.
  • The State has argued that all five accused acted in a common purpose and should therefore all be charged with murder. 
  • Judgment on their bail application will be handed down on Friday.  

Mpumalanga Community Safety and Security MEC Vusi Shongwe is concerned about the situation that could arise should the five men accused of murdering the Coka brothers be granted bail. 

On Wednesday, the State and defence wrapped up arguments in the bail application of Orchard Klingenberg, Danie Malan, Cornelius Greyling, Ignitius Steinberg and Senzele Yende.

READ | Coka brothers were fighting, CCTV shows in eMkhondo murder case

They face charges of murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping following the death of brothers Mgcini and Zenzele Coka.

The brothers were shot and killed during an altercation on Pampoenkraal farm on 9 April.

The kidnapping charge relates to the alleged abduction of Nhlanhla William Hlatswayo during a citizen's arrest.

The five accused in the murder of the Coka brothers in the Piet Retief Magistrate's Court. They are Daniel Malan (38), Cornelius Lourens Greyling (25) and Othard Johann Klingenberg (53) in front. At the back are Zenzele Yende (48) and Ignatius Michael Steynberg (31).

The precinct outside the Piet Retief Magistrate's Court was lined with barbed wire as a convoy of police vehicles and Public Order Police units watched over a group of about 100 protesters from different political parties. 

"To me, if we give the perpetrators bail today, it looks like it is going to give us a handful as government and police because we will have to manage the situation. My main concern is about the situation around Mkhondo and Mpumalanga," said Shongwe.

"If you look at the number of people who are here and the political parties, all of them are speaking in one voice saying these people must not get bail. If they are going to get bail, these people are going to be a task for the police to manage, and that is my view and concern."

READ | Coka brothers' killing: Five accused remain in jail as bail hearing postponed

Shongwe's comments followed tense standoffs between protesters and the police during previous appearances. Protesters have attacked motorists in the vicinity of the court. 

"Police are up for the task; they must be up to the task. That is the responsibility of the police to make sure that they manage any situation in the province. If they need backup, it will come from all angles and make sure that we manage this situation," he said. 

Previously, Klingenberg submitted he had acted in self-defence when he fired shots on the day. The farmer said he did not plan to shoot but acted because he felt he was in danger.

Prosecutor Robert Molokoane argued all five men acted in common purpose and each had actively participated in the incident and should all be held responsible for murder.

"The crime was committed in the execution of a common purpose since the murder has been foreseen by the applicants and since they had associated themselves with and persisted in furthering of the common design despite such foresight, it was an act which they were legally responsible," he said. 

Defence lawyers argued the shooting was in reaction to the assault of some of the farmers and it was not premeditated but rather a triggered reaction. 

"The conduct by these farmers is clearly not an execution of a common purpose to kill deceased one or any other person. It is an objective common cause fact that some of the farmers were assaulted, more in particular Mr Moolman, which event triggered the shooting of the deceased one by accused three [Klingenberg].

"The IO [investigating officer] could not and did not dispute that there is a possibility that any of the accused who fired shots, more specifically accused three, might have acted in self-defence," said the defence in their heads of argument. 

Regarding self-defence, Molokoane argued both brothers were shot in the back, which was an indication they were running away and were not the aggressors. 

Judgment on the bail application will be handed down on Friday. 

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