Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
19 Mar 2021
5:25 pm

Alleged Eldorado vigilante murder squad lurks outside court

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The men who are accused of having taken part in the murder stood outside court, with community members accusing them of threatening witnesses.

Eldorado Park community members demonstrate outside the Lenasia Magistrates Court, 19 March 2021, in support of the families of Vusi Mathebula and Franklin Willett who were found tortured and murdered in a house in Eldos on 5 March. Picture: Michel Bega

While three Eldorado Park men accused of kidnapping and murder appeared briefly in the Lenasia Magistrates court, several men accused of taking part in the act showed up outside court and allegedly threatened witnesses and family members.

The three accused in the matter briefly appeared briefly at the Lenasia Magistrates Court on Friday, where the magistrate heard that the first two suspects’ lawyer could not attend proceedings due to illness.

The community of Eldorado Park has been left traumatised by the grizzly discovery of the bodies of Vusi Mathebula and Franklin Willet, beaten and mutilated beyond recognition, at a house linked to the alleged murderers.

The three accused allegedly kidnapped the two men and a third victim, who they suspected of robbing houses and cars earlier this month before torturing and beating them. The third victim survived the abuse, but his two friends’ bodies were found days later after community members heard screams coming from the house.

WATCH: Eldos community protest at court where torture, murder suspects are to appear

Community leader, Dwain Ponsonby said he was considering pressing charges against two of the men allegedly involved in the murders for repeatedly threatening his life, with the hope of getting a restraining order. But he also refused to back down from the case, stating he was willing to put his safety on the line until justice was served.

“I was actually on the stairs of the court for the formal bail application and I noticed that looking straight into my eyes was one of the two guys who had been personally threatening me since a week ago. He threatened me to my face and told be to stay away from this case altogether. Now they are standing outside the court and these are the same guys that were pointed out by two of the witnesses as the murderers.”

Residents were not happy with how justice was being carried out so far, as five people placed by several witnesses as accomplices to the crime had not been arrested. Residents pointed out two of the alleged accomplices who arrived outside court in Lenasia on Friday morning.

Police earlier told The Citizen that all of the suspects in the case had been arrested, meaning there were only three suspects in the case according to authorities.

ALSO READ: Two bodies found wrapped in plastic in Eldorado Park house

This despite the Patriotic Alliance members in Eldorado Park calling for the arrest of five more men as suspects in the trial.

Instead, one of them believed to be living in the house where the hostages were held has turned state witness, according to Ponsonby. Two of the alleged members of the vigilante squad lurked in the shade of a tree outside court, as scared residents whispered and pointed.

According to Ponsonby, the men threatened him on sight, as they apparently did frequently since the arrest of the other three.

The case was remanded until Thursday due to the accused’s attorney’s absence.

Simnikiweh@citizen.co.za

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.