National 11.8.2016 09:42 pm

Body parts merchant’s house torched by community

Edward Raatji and his co-accused Stanley Mohlake appeared at their bail application which was postponed by the Polokwane Magistrates' Court on Tuesday. PHOTO: ANA

Edward Raatji and his co-accused Stanley Mohlake appeared at their bail application which was postponed by the Polokwane Magistrates' Court on Tuesday. PHOTO: ANA

The lawyer of a man found in possession of a human skull and genitals says his client’s life is now being endangered.

The Mokerong Magistrates’ court in Limpopo on Thursday heard that the community of Mapela village allegedly torched the house of a suspected body parts merchant.

Edward Raatji, a second-year University of Venda law student, was applying to be released on bail after he was arrested for murder and contravening corpse rights.

According to the State, Raatji, 50, and his co-accused Stanley Mohlake, 33, allegedly killed an unknown woman and removed her head and genitals, then tried to sell them.

Advocate Appo Molepo, for Raatji, told court during a bail hearing on Thursday that his client’s home had been reduced to ashes.

Molepo said the last arson attack was directed to the remaining backyard rooms over the weekend while three room were burnt a fortnight ago.

He argued that his client would not endanger the community if he was released on bail, adding that, instead, the community was posing a threat to Raatji.

“The community is not in danger; they are the ones who are endangering his family and his relatives,” Molepo said.

“He was in custody when his house was torched for the first time; he was still in custody when it was wholly torched.”

Prosecutor Simon Mphela told court that there were no compelling circumstances for Raatji to be released on bail.

Mphela said that Raatji’s desire to further his studies, take care of his family and alleged medical conditions were not gripping.

He described the submission as more of a personal one and not ordinary. It would not be in the interest of justice for Raatji to be released on bail, Mphela said.

Raatji was arrested on July 10, after he was found possession of human skull and genitals at a taxi rank in Polokwane. Days later, Raatji and Mohlake, who abandoned bail, were linked to a murder.

They allegedly pointed out the scene were they dumped a body of a woman who was partly burnt at Mapela village near a bridge.

On Thursday, Molepo told the court that Raatji had two alternative places where he could stay, which included the University of Venda. Molepo insisted that his client would be safe despite the house torching. He refused to divulge other address, except saying it was in Gauteng.

The case was postponed to August 19.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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