The Mokopane Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo on Monday denied bail to two businessmen accused of the murder of two African National Congress (ANC) councillors.
Jabulane Petros Mashamaite and James Mswazi Chuma were denied bail after they failed to prove exceptional circumstances justifying their release pending their trial.
Mashamaite and Chuma along with their co-accused – Samuel Seruputlane Mokonyane and Nkholo Frans Mangadi – face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of murder.
The charges are in connection with the 2019 murders of ANC Mogalakwena Local Municipality councillors, Vaaltyn Kekana, 54, and Ralph Kanyane, 32.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), during the time of the pair’s murders, Kekana was about to table a report to the municipal council regarding irregular expenditure or maladministration in the Mogalakwena Municipality in Waterberg.
NPA regional spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said Mokonyane and Mangadi decided to abandon their bail applications.
Malabi-Dzhangi said Mashamaite testified that he was the breadwinner of his family, had a permanent job, businesses, and a medical condition that did not allow him to be incarcerated.
He further denied being behind the murders of the two ANC councillors, telling the court they were his comrades and he did not kill them.
“He concluded his application by asking the court to release him and said he will abide by the conditions until the matter is finalised.
“The state opposed Mashamaite’s bail, stating potential interference with the state witnesses as he knows them,” Malabi-Dzhangi said in a statement.
She said the state further mentioned that Mashamaite would be able to get medical attention in custody.
Meanwhile, Chuma submitted his affidavit and indicated that he wanted to be released on bail in order to take care of his children and his businesses. He also told the court that he could not be incarcerated because he was innocent of the charges against him.
“State prosecutor advocate Calvin Chauke, in his submission, told the court that in respect of his businesses, he [Chuma] did not submit any proof to the court to confirm that indeed his businesses would suffer due to his incarceration.
“The state concluded by saying that Chuma’s circumstances do not qualify as exceptional circumstances.”
The matter was postponed to 19 August 2022 to serve the accused with the indictment.