No bail for suspended Uber driver arrested for OR Tambo airport brawl
Family and friends seated in the front row of the public gallery sobbed on Tuesday as former Uber driver Tebogo Makhalemele was denied bail by the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court.
Makhalemele‚ 30‚ appeared calm as magistrate Motlalepula Mogotsi explained why he would stay in custody.
The case returns to court in six weeks’ time.
Makhalemele stands accused of murdering 71-year-old Zalman Orlianski‚ who was buried on Tuesday morning. He died in hospital on Sunday after succumbing to injuries sustained on September 9 during their altercation at OR Tambo International Airport.
Delivering her judgment‚ that went through submissions made by the defence and state on Monday‚ the magistrate said Makhalemele had failed to submit compelling reasons why he should be released on bail.
"As a law-abiding citizen‚ you should have allowed the deceased to use the parking. In fact‚ you should have gotten out of your car and assisted him to park on the parking spot that you both had targeted‚" Mogotsi said.
She highlighted that although the state had failed to address her on the fact that the deceased was an elderly person‚ she said the court could not ignore the provisions of the Older Persons Act. "The Act deals with combating the abuse of elderly persons and the deceased was 71‚ meaning this act kicks in‚" Mogotsi said.
The magistrate also said the court was not convinced that Makhalemele would not interfere with state witnesses or try to intimidate them.
"One of the state witnesses is a security guard from OR Tambo and as an Uber driver‚ you would definitely see him when dropping or fetching your clients there‚" Mogotsi said.
She also said although the investigating officer‚ Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Mazibuko‚ did not oppose bail‚ the court considered that the state prosecutor‚ Alex Nkosi‚ had asked for Makhalemele to be kept in custody.
His attorney‚ Stanford Singende‚ had asked the court for bail to be set at R1‚000 and stated his client would plead not guilty.
In his affidavit for his bail application‚ Makhalemele told the court that he earned R4‚000 a month as an Uber driver. He spent about R1‚500 to support his seven-year-old daughter and also took care of his elderly mother and long-time girlfriend.
The matter has been remanded to October 26.