The bail application of kidnap co-accused Karabo Tau took a violent turn outside the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
People for and against the 18-year-old matric pupil attacked each other by throwing bottles and stones and cracking sjamboks at each other in the street.
A woman also ran up and down with a hammer, as imphepho (South African sage) was burnt in the street outside the court building.
A small fire was started and court officials and passing traffic either held back or sped over the flames.
The confrontation was over quickly, but there are fears that it may continue on Wednesday when final arguments in her bail application will be wrapped up.
Tau has testified that she is innocent and did not pretend to be a social worker and kidnap missing twin Kwahlelwa Tiwane. She said she does not even know the baby’s mother, Asanda.
She said her confession was made under extreme duress and that police told her what to write.
The case has dragged on since her arrest in January, partly due to load shedding and the hefty court roll.
She went back to the holding cells, blowing a kiss into the public gallery on Tuesday. She again wore her school uniform from Claremont High School.
During final arguments, prosecutor Tobinceba Matrose said Tau could also face a charge of human trafficking in future.
He submitted that her alibi that she was in her isiXhosa class at school during the kidnapping, was “fabricated” and that the teacher who corroborated her alibi could allegedly be party to what happened.
He also disputed evidence by the school’s IT manager that it was impossible to manipulate the CCTV footage of Tau at school.
The footage is about 20 minutes fast due to a fault detected only when the footage was requested.
But Matrose said the most important reason for not granting bail, was that if Tau was released baby Kwahlelwa might never be found.
He told the court that by watching Karabo’s “strong demeanour” under pressure during cross examination in court, he did not believe her claim that she was forced by police to make a false confession.
The investigating officer who Tau said forced her to write a confession, a detective Samsodien, asked to be taken off the case.
Matrose said kidnapping was a serious charge and police were also considering whether she was allegedly involved in a syndicate.
He asked the court to show that kidnapping was taken seriously, given the instances of missing children.
“The justice that I want is not that Karabo goes to jail. No. The justice I want is that the child is found,” he submitted.
Magistrate Charles Scott asked to borrow a load shedding schedule, and put the matter on the roll for Wednesday afternoon.
Tau’s co-accused, Ely Kibunda, was expected to appear in another court in the same building on Wednesday also to apply for bail.
Matrose said another person was still being sought in the matter. It is one of two names which were apparently taken from Tau’s phone during her police interview. She said she gave their names to police when they claimed a syndicate of foreign nationals was taking babies. They were the only two foreign nationals she knew, she said. She said she knew them because they “had a crush” on her.
Kwahlelwa went missing on January 16. The baby’s mother said a woman posing as a social worker had offered to help her get a desperately needed grant for her twins and an older child.
They caught a taxi together from Khayelitsha to Parow, supposedly for that purpose. In Parow, the child disappeared with the woman.
Matrose submitted that Tau was tracked via the True Caller app and a picture.
Tau’s lawyer Sulaiman Chotia will present final arguments on Wednesday in support of his client’s contention that she is innocent and should get bail.
He has said it was impossible for Tau to have travelled from the mother’s house in Khayelitsha to Parow and then to school in the time frame provided by the child’s mother.