The Tshwane Metro Police constable who was accused of shooting dead a motorist last week was released on bail by the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Takatso Mashego allegedly shot 38-year-old Tsakane Shimange, a metered taxi driver, in the chest after he had stopped him near the Gautrain station in Hatfield.
Mashego, 26, who has two years’ experience as a metro police constable, was released on R5 000 bail and warned to appear again on February 8.
Attorney Peter Jay said his constable client would challenge the state on the murder charge and plead not guilty.
During a previous court appearance, Jay said Mashego was “provoked” by the metered taxi driver, whom he said bumped him twice.
On Friday the state did not oppose Mashego’s bail application because it felt that he was not a flight risk. Mashego apparently does not have a passport.
The 26-year-old metro cop from Mamelodi was released on condition that he does not interfere with the investigations or contact witnesses. He was also ordered to report to a police station every Friday.
A group of people, thought to be friends and relatives of the deceased, could be heard murmuring in apparent disapproval when bail was granted. Police had to intervene to calm them down.
Earlier, there was a commotion when some of the people in this group tried to force their way into the packed courtroom. The court was briefly adjourned until order was restored.
Those outside loudly complained about travelling from Limpopo only to be told to wait outside the court. “We have come from very far away, and we want to hear what is happening,” a man in the crowd shouted. Others simply peeped through the windows.
After the bail hearing Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said the allegations against Mashego were being probed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
“We want to give Ipid a space to investigate, but if they need something from the department, we will gladly provide,” he said.
He also said the accused metro cop had not been suspended.