Outrage, resentment and anger greeted Tuesday’s first court appearance of a Cramond farmer who allegedly shot and killed a man who was attending a burial on Saturday.
Over 100 protesters dressed in ANC T-shirts rallied outside the New Hanover magistrate’s court to express disapproval at the alleged actions of Edward Philip Walter Solomon (65).
From the placards they held aloft, it was clear they wanted bail to be denied.
According to police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala, Solomon allegedly showed up with a firearm at the funeral of a “Lembethe” family member at the Otto’s Bluff farm in Cramond.
“He demanded that the people who attended the funeral must leave. When one of the funeral-goers spoke to him, he allegedly shot the man before fleeing the scene in his vehicle. The 30-year-old man sustained gunshot wounds to the upper body and died at the scene.
“The Cramond police started to search for the suspect and he was placed under arrest for murder,” said Gwala.
The crowd on Tuesday demonstrated behind the locked gates of the courthouse, made secure by guards who wanted to keep them at bay. Their voices reached such a crescendo that they were heard inside the courtroom where Solomon appeared.
Clad in a faded camouflage jacket, Solomon glanced nervously at the public gallery as he was being led into the dock. His fluffy grey mane of hair appeared thick and unkempt.
State prosecutor Scelo Zuma, cut straight to the point saying he is adjourning the case to January 9, for an opposed bail application.
Solomon’s advocate Brad Osborne did not object. Instead, he requested that the magistrate, Fikile Luvuno, remand his client to the Mountain Rise police cells, instead of New Prison.
He said it was necessary in order for the man’s attorney to speak to him to “get his affairs” in order.
“Arrangements need to be put in place. He has a large farm that has to be managed. It is going to require extensive consultation.”
Zuma fervently opposed this request saying: “He [Solomon] should be detained at New Prison. He should be detained like everyone else.”
Luvuno ruled in the state’s favour and then adjourned the case to next week.
Solomon is charged with the murder of Mothi Ngubane and the attempted murder of Mondli Lembethe, at whom he had allegedly discharged a firearm.
Describing the events that led to Solomon’s arrest, Maxwell Lembethe (Mondli’s brother), told The Witness that at about 12.30 pm, on Saturday, he, his uncles and the “elders” were around his other brother’s coffin, when Solomon, allegedly charged at them.
There were between 150 to 200 mourners present to pay their last respects, he said.
He alleged that Solomon began to chase them all, but he and Lembethe stayed put. Solomon then allegedly covered his firearm with his T-shirt. Lembethe said he heard five shots go off. He continued that he and his family had lived on the farm for many years.
As he was vividly recapping what transpired, the angry protestors stood furiously behind what was now an open gate. They refused to shift to allow a convoy of police vans — one of them with Solomon in it — to leave.
Minutes went by before they reluctantly dragged themselves out the way.
However, they remained on either side of the driveway and as each police van exited, they banged the canopies with their fists.
They tried hard to rip open the tarp blanketing the windows to catch a glimpse of Solomon but failed.