Prime suspect in Vlakfontein murders opts not to apply for bail
A man accused of murdering the Khoza family at their home in Vlakfontein‚ south of Johannesburg‚ is an illegal immigrant‚ the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday.
As he stood in the dock on Monday‚ where he now faces seven charges of premeditated murder‚ the court heard that the 27-year-old was using an assumed name in South Africa. He is originally from Zimbabwe. According to the state‚ the suspect had entered the country illegally.
He was arrested last week Thursday in Mpumalanga near the Lebombo border post with Mozambique. He is alleged to have been found in possession of bank cards belonging to two of the seven victims‚ police captain Mavela Masondo said ahead of the court appearance.
The suspect‚ who was wearing leg chains in the dock‚ also faces additional three charges of rape.
According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjondondwane he is alleged to have raped one child and two adults from the Khoza household.
The second accused in the matter is 61-year-old Fita Khupe‚ who is said to be from Mozambique. He has been in South Africa since 1975 and is in the country legally.
According to community members of Vlakfontein who were present in court‚ Khupe had been involved in a romantic relationship with one of the adult victims. The community had known him as Dan.
The younger suspect has chosen not to apply for bail‚ while Khupe wants to be released. Both have asked for Legal Aid. It is expected that two different lawyers will be assigned to represent them.
The case was postponed to November 12 for Khupe’s formal bail application.
As the two remain in custody for now‚ they have been separated - one will be kept at the Johannesburg Correctional Services centre (Sun City) while the other will be kept at the Johannesburg Central police station.
Family and neighbours thronged the court to witness their court appearance‚ including the father of one of the slain children.
Two suspects in the murder of seven family members in Vlakfontein appeared in a court filled with angry community members, at the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on Monday November 5 2018. Among the community was the father of one of the three children who were slain who said he would post the bail if it was granted to the perpetrators.