Man denied bail for his own safety

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

An Mpumalanga man accused of fatally stabbing a fellow drinker at a tavern was denied bail on Monday in order to protect him from angry community members.

Joseph Thobela, 25, of Mangweni village near the Swazi and Mozambican border, was not asked to plead when he appeared before the Tonga Magistrate’s Court.

He faces a charge of murder.

The investigating officer in the case, Constable Sipho Richard Shekwa, said giving Thobela bail would put his life in danger.

“Your Worship, the accused meets every criteria to grant him bail, but the community where he lives is going to kill him,” said Shekwa.

Thobela was arrested on November 2 following a fatal clash between two groups, where a man named Mbuso Duma Mbatha was killed.

“Before the day of the funeral, a group of community members mobilised each other and wanted to go and burn his family house. Your Worship, fortunately some other members quickly informed us and we rushed to the house to disperse the community members. Granting him bail will be a big mistake,” said Shekwa.

He asked the court to consider the angry community members who stand to be arrested should Thobela be granted bail.

Another man implicated in the fatal altercation was released after he could not be linked to the stabbing.

“During my investigation I established that when the groups were fighting, Thobela managed to stab about four men from the other group, and unfortunately Mbatha died on the spot and the other three were taken to Tonga Hospital for medical treatment,” testified Shekwa.

Magistrate Sibonisiwe Sibuyi said it was in Thobela’s best interest for him to be detained.

“I can see that you want to go home, but I can’t grant you bail as I will be risking your life,” she said, causing angry community members to grumble in the packed gallery.

Sibuyi postponed the murder case to December 10 for further police investigation.



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