The Kabokweni Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga released the five suspects arrested in connection with the death of an African National Congress (ANC) member Prince Manzini on bail.
Duncan Lekhuleni, Nhlanhla Mabuza, Sikhumbuzo Lekhuleni, Deon Lekhuleni were arrested a few weeks ago.
During their bail application, the court heard that Manzini was assaulted with chairs and other objects after the two groups of ANC members fought over changes that were made to the agenda of a branch meeting earlier this year.
During their bail application, the five suspects denied committing the offence and requested the court to release them on bail because they are breadwinners for their families.
They claim that the state does not have evidence linking them to the case. They also say they will not interfere with the investigations. Their legal representative argued that they did not interfere with the witnesses before their arrest, and there is no evidence that they will do so when they are released on bail.
Meanwhile, the investigating officer Simon Mlotshwa, says the five have been linked by eyewitnesses to the case. He says they might evade trial should they be granted bail.
Mlotshwa told the court that the suspects are not ANC members, but they were organised by certain senior ANC leaders to disrupt the party meeting. However, he says the names of the leaders would not be mentioned because the investigation is still underway.
The division within the ruling party have also been evident outside the court premises.
One group of ANC members were protesting, calling for justice for Manzini’s death, while another group of ANC members protested in favor of the accused.
All the suspects were granted R1 000 bail each and the case was postponed to September 29, 2020.
Nkanta said, “We need to have our own introspection, what we saw even today – the activities former members of the regional executive of the ANC eNhlanzeni region mobilising people to march against the arrest is unfortunate. We think comrade (Joel) Netshitenzhe has to release a consequential document that says the renewal of the ANC indeed is a must, a total renewal that members of the ANC must start afresh to join the ANC so that they can be screened to understand what kind of members we have in the ANC.”
“ANC members should have a battle of ideas, instead of killing each other,” added Nkata.