Elvis Nyathi murder: Seven accused granted bail of R3 000

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The seven accused of allegedly murdering Elvis Nyathi by setting him alight were granted bail in the Randburg Magistrate Court on Friday.
The seven accused of allegedly murdering Elvis Nyathi by setting him alight were granted bail in the Randburg Magistrate Court on Friday.
Zandile Khumalo
  • The men accused of the murder of Elvis Nyathi in Diepsloot have been granted bail.
  • The magistrate said the State could not provide substantial evidence on the role the accused had played in the crime. 
  • The seven will return to court on 7 July.

The seven men accused of murdering Zimbabwean Elvis Nyathi have been granted bail.

Cedric Raseala, 42, Baron Mashele, 31, Godfrey Mahlo, 31, Thomas Serebane, 53, Phumuduza Tshirangwana, 38, Thabo Makgatho, 32, and Puleng Chipape, 34, appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday 

Magistrate Hleziphi Mkhasibe said the State had not been able to provide substantial evidence to validate the role each accused played in the alleged murder of Nyathi. 

"I show great concern in the State's failure to provide substantial evidence that proves the role each accused played in the alleged killing of the victim," said Mkhasibe.

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Mkhasibe also said that some State witnesses could not identify the suspects who allegedly committed the crime.

"The investigating officer stated in the affidavit that the State witnesses were still traumatised, scared and shaken, which would justify the State witness inability to identify the accused," she said.

Mkhasibe further noted that, although some of the accused stated in their testimony that they were assaulted by the police, such evidence would only be challenged during the trial, and that her decision on bail application would not solely be based on this piece of evidence.

She granted the seven bail of R3 000 each. 

Mkhasibe concluded that the release of the accused would not jeopardise the case, nor were they a danger to the public or individual's safety. 

The National Prosecuting Authority's Phindi Mjonondwane told journalists outside court:

The Diepsloot seven were granted bail with a condition that they do not interact with any of State witnesses and, as the NPA, we accept the decision, keeping in mind that this is a bail application stage and, therefore, the purpose of hearing the bail application is to determine whether or not the accused will be able to attend their trial

Mjonomdwane mentioned that the court was confident that the accused were suitable candidates to be released on bail of R3 000 to secure their attendance in court. 

She further mentioned that the State would take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the witnesses.

On 7 April, Nyathi was set alight by a group of attackers.

He died on the spot in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.

Nyathi's uncle addressed the media outside the court and expressed disappointment over the turn of events. 

"As a family of the deceased, we are very disappointed. We were hoping that the judge would look at what these guys did," said Mpthathisi Ndlovu.

He added:

We know South Africa as a country that doesn't overlook human rights, so now we do not understand why people that did something that is inhuman and killing someone in a brutal way are let out to be free outside.

"We are hoping that maybe they will get a sentencing later on."

The Diesploot seven face charges of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and extortion.

Two out of the seven have previous convictions, while the rest have clean records..

None of the accused have pending cases.

All of the accused are South African, however, they do not have passports or records showing they have travelled outside the country.

They will return to court on 7 July.

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