WATCH | Accused in murder of e-hailing driver will spend Christmas in jail after court denies bail

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  • The 11 people accused of murdering Abongile Mafalala were denied bail. 
  • The magistrate described the murder as "brutal".
  • Mafalala's family members welcomed the ruling, saying they were very happy.

The 11 people accused of brutally killing Cape Town e-hailing driver Abongile Mafalala, in a mob justice attack in Parkwood, Cape Town were denied bail in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

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On the morning of 31 May this year, Mafalala accepted a ride request from individuals in the area. When he arrived at his pick-up destination, two men got into his Toyota Avanza. He was robbed, beaten and dragged to a nearby field, where he was set alight. This came after rumours circulated that he was in the area to kidnap children. 

Mafalala died during the attack, which saw an angry mob of residents accusing him of being behind alleged abductions.

Dressed in white T-shirts, the accused walked into the dock smiling and waving to their family members seated in the public gallery.

READ | 'You are all killers': Family of slain e-hailing driver blasts Parkwood residents in court

In reading his 13-page judgment, Magistrate Goolam Bawa said that, to save time, he would only be reading parts of the ruling.

On Thursday, emotions were running high as members of the public eagerly awaited the court's ruling, with some mumbling, "make finish" and "just tell us the verdict", as they waited in anticipation for the outcome.

In June, Bawa ruled that the accused's faces may not be shown in the media and that their names were not to be publicised.

11 accused in dock in white T-shirts seen from bac
The 11 accused in the murder of Cape Town e-hailing driver Abongile Mafalala have been denied bail.
News24 PHOTO: Lisalee Solomons, News24

The accused, who face charges of murder, aggravated robbery, and malicious damage to property, all failed to present exceptional circumstances as to why they should be granted bail.

In denying bail, Bawa described the murder as "brutal".

Family members of the accused burst into tears, hurriedly leaving the gallery as they chanted "this isn't right".

"Everything happens for a reason. They must be strong; the Lord knows best. This is very upsetting news for us because we thought they would be home for Christmas," an emotional family member of one of the accused said. 

Bulelwa, Dunyiswa and Khuselwa Mafalala said they are happy with the court's decision.

After bail was denied, the police instructed the Mafalala family to stay behind, so they could be escorted out at the back of the court to prevent any altercations. 

Mafalala's sisters, Bulelwa, Khuselwa and Dunyiswa, couldn't control their tears of joy as they told News24 they were happy with the outcome – and that their brother "is finally getting justice".

"We are happy that they will stay in jail for a very long time and that the case is now moving to the High Court. We hope that they will never come out of jail. Yes, they were crying big tears in court, so now they must feel how we felt when they killed our only brother," said Khuselwa. 

According to the sisters, they celebrated their brother's 31st birthday in November.

Khuselwa said:

This is really the best birthday gift for our brother. If he was here, we would've partied and celebrated his big day, but we celebrated for him. I know he is very happy as he is resting in his eternal place.

Zandile Maweza said her boyfriend was smiling in his grave. 

"We would've been five years together this year, and I know he is smiling wherever he is now. I'm so happy the court saw it fit to leave them all in prison. They thought nothing of my man when they beat him, set the pit bull on him, and burnt him to death.

"I can still remember seeing those vile videos of what they did to him. They must all voetsek and never come out of jail. Abongile is resting nicely now; justice is being served," she said.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the case had been postponed until next year.

The accused will remain in custody at Pollsmoor prison until their next court appearance.

Meanwhile, one of the accused, a minor, who the court heard had set his pit pull on Mafalala, appeared in camera earlier on Thursday. His case was also postponed to January.

He has been released into the custody of his father.

In total, there are 13 people accused of Mafalala's murder, with one of the accused turning State witness.

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