The Randburg magistrate’s court on Friday granted bail to seven men accused of the murder of Zimbabwean Elvis Nyathi during protests in Diepsloot early in April.
The suspects, who were granted R3 000 bail each, were ordered to return to court on July 7. The court ordered them not to make contact with witnesses, and threatened to issue a warrant for their arrest if they fail to appear in July.
The men face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and extortion.
Nyathi was beaten and burned to death amid protests fuelled by the growing anti-foreign sentiment that had gripped the community of Diepsloot in the north of Johannesburg. The situation was exasperated by claims that seven people were murdered by an illegal immigrant in the area.
This resulted in residents going around asking individuals they suspected to be foreigners to produce documentation proving that they were in the country legally.
When confronted by the mob, Nyathi is said to have fled, but he was pursued. The mob then proceeded to beat him in full view of his wife, Nomsa Tshuma. Nyathi was then burned and later succumbed to his injuries.
In granting the suspects bail, the court said none of them were in possession of a passport, and that there was no proof that they had been out of the borders of the country, which makes them not likely to flee.
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