- The six men accused of killing Gauteng Department of Health official Babita Deokaran will spend Christmas in jail
- Presiding officer Sipho Sibanyoni said the group had made weak arguments in their bail application
- Hadebe allegedly pointed to former Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize as the group's paymaster, which the former denied
- Online users, who have kept an eye on the case, were overjoyed with the decision to keep the six in prison
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JOHANNESBURG - The Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday ruled that the six suspects charged with murdering Gauteng Department of Health official Babita Deokaran will spend Christmas in jail.
Phakamani Hadebe, Zitha Radebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbhele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Siphakanyiswa Dladla were all denied bail after magistrate Sipho Sibanyoni said the group had made weak arguments to prove exceptional circumstances in their bail application.
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Sibanyoni said the accused faced serious charges and, if convicted, could receive lengthy sentences. It is for this reason, Sibanyoni explained, that the accused might try to evade trial if released on bail ahead of the matter being back in court on 24 February.
In a bid to appeal to the magistrate's conscience amid the lengthy bail application, the lawyer representing the six accused, Peter Wilkins, said his clients were forced by way of assault to confess to Deokaran's murder following their arrest. The defence presented the confessions to the court but was disputed by the men.
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Ex-health minister implicated
Based on the said confessions, Sibanyoni said he could not make any determinations and that a trial court would have to rule on whether it was admissible or not, News24 reported.
"All six are linked to the murder of Babita Deokaran, either by confession or pointing out at this stage, until such time the trial court makes a finding on the admissibility or otherwise, of such confessions and pointing outs," Sibanyoni declared.
In an earlier news report, TimesLIVE reported that a disputed confession by Hadebe allegedly pointed to Zweli Mkhize, the former Minister of Health, as being the group's paymaster. However, in a statement, the latter strongly denied the accusation.
Wilkins responded by saying Mkhize's statement corroborated Hadebe's denial of knowing him and implicating him in his alleged confession, which Sibanyoni said had no merit as the statement was not a sworn one made under oath.
Bail denial celebrated online
South Africans were overjoyed with the decision to keep the accused in prison until their next appearance in about two months, with murmurs ringing out that the wheels of justice should turn with conviction once the matter proceeds.
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Briefly News takes a look at some of the interesting reactions to come from social media.
@Mnr Maweni wrote:
"I heard someone from the affidavit saying that Zweli Mkhizi is far from this saga since he was working at a national level and this happened at the provincial level."
@Mhana Mesha said:
"Until they confess whos the mastermind n confirm the initial 'Zweli Mkhizos behind the killing saga' let them rot in hell."
@Siyabonga Siyabonga added:
"These guys deserve some statues, free bails and good free apartments from the government. They have done a good job."
@Sam Malose Mphuthi offered:
"Good let them stay in prison and for all I know for the rest of their lives because no person deserves to be killed like a dog."
Guilty verdict for 4 minors accused of murder
In related news, Briefly News previously reported that South Africans were satisfied with the judgement in the murder case of aspiring musician Thoriso Themane, who was brutally assaulted by a group of minors in Fauna Park, Polokwane, in February 2019.
The incident was recorded in a video that subsequently went viral on social media, along with images of Thoriso's battered and bruised body. The Polokwane High Court has now passed judgement in the matter more than two and a half years since that fateful day.
Briefly News understands that four of the six minors involved were on Wednesday found guilty of murder. SABC News reported that investigations had initially resulted in the arrest of 14 suspects, among them two older men.
Six suspects were later ruled out, leaving only eight to answer for the savage attack on Themane. Other than the four teenagers who've now been convicted of murder, two others were found guilty of assault after they pled guilty to the charge.
Source: Briefly News