Three University of KwaZulu-Natal students who allegedly beat a teenager to death in a “mob attack” want to be released on bail.
Lindokuhle Ngcamu (23), a final-year Bachelor of Arts student; Ayanda Mzila (22), a final-year Bachelor of Science student and Wandile Mkhulisa (21), a first-year Bachelor of Social Science student, appeared on Monday in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.
They are charged with the murder of Samkelo Dada (19) on September 6, in Scottsville.
Due to uncertainty about whether Dada was a student, magistrate M. Boikhutso rolled the matter over until today to give the state the opportunity to find out before arguments can be heard in the bail application.
The students all live close to the university: Ngcamu in Roseveare Road, Mzila in King Edward Avenue and Mkhulisa in Milner Road.
The three students handed affidavits to the court arguing why they should be released. They deny having anything to do with Dada’s murder and said when they last saw him, he was alive.
Ngcamu said Dada was found breaking into his residence, where he is a student tenant. On that day, Ngcamu said he was vacating the property due to the prevalence of robberies in the Scottsville area.
“I have been a victim of robbery in Scottsville before where they broke in and stole my laptop and clothes,” he said.
Ngcamu added Dada was caught by other students and a “mob assault started”. He, Mzila and Mkhulisa left the scene, leaving Dada with other students who were alleging that they had been victims of robberies.
Mzila’s affidavit also said Dada was found breaking into his “co-accused’s” place of residence and ran away. “He was caught by other students and a mob assault happened,” he said.
Mkhulisa on the other hand did not say anything about the allegations against him in his affidavit.
The investigating officer, Mbhekiseni Ngcobo, said that the accused three students had gone to Dada’s place of residence and chased him. “He ran away, up until they caught him. He was assaulted to death,” he said.
After that, they went home and pretended as if nothing had happened, he added.
Ngcobo is opposed to the students being released on bail. He claims they have all been expelled from the university. However, they have provided the court with proof that they are still students.
Ngcobo said that the young men were arrested a few days after the murder and were not law-abiding citizens because they did not hand themselves over to police after the assault.
He said they were arrested only after witnesses came forward and identified them. Ngcobo added that the witnesses and Dada’s sister fear for their lives if the students are released because they don’t know the motive for the killing.
The students said they are not flight risks and don’t pose a danger to anyone. They also said they want to be released so that they can get back to their studies.