A Roodepoort magistrate has lashed out at people who verbally attacked court officials after the appearance of murder accused Mzikayise Malephane.
Magistrate John Baloyi, who is presiding over the matter, called on the public to behave and respect court officials, especially women.
Baloyi said during Malephane’s second appearance on 24 June, members of the public had verbally attacked and insulted officials inside the courtroom after the matter was postponed.
“People are demanding the accused be brought to court. They want to see him in court. According to judicial management and efforts of avoiding the spread of Covid-19, we are allowed to postpone matters that are not ready for trial virtually.
“It is not economically viable to bring them to court as officers have to guard them to and from court. It is a cost-cutting measure. Virtual postponements assist in cutting down the number of escapees to and from prison.
“The accused first chose to be represented by the Legal Aid. On the second appearance, he said he doesn’t want to be represented by the Legal Aid and his family has secured services of a private attorney,” Baloyi said.
Baloyi said the matter was not ready as investigations were still under way.
“Once investigations are proceeding, he can in the meantime sort out his legal representation. The court gallery hurled insults at officials during the previous appearance.
“I must say that it was disgusting and I was disappointed that our own people do that to female officials who were in court. Please treat them with dignity. Don’t rubbish this facility. Look after this facility. It is true that people demand justice and want this matter to be finalised as speedily as possible. I convey my sincere condolences to the Pule family. I appeal to anyone to exercise patience and allow investigations to be finalised and justice will prevail at the end,” said Baloyi.
Malephane is accused of killing an eight-months pregnant Tshegofatso Pule.
The 28-year-old was last seen on 4 June, leaving her Soweto home to visit her boyfriend in Florida. She had told her family that they were going shopping for clothes for the baby.
Her body was found the following day hanging from a tree with a stab wound to the chest.
Pule was later positively identified by her family on 8 June.
Malephane is expected back in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on 29 September.