Baha'i News -- Ncamazana: Public must not judge 26/09/2002 21:50  - (SA)  

Ncamazana: Public must not judge

East London - Former Azanian People's Liberation Army guerrilla Dumisani Ncamazana and his brother Simnikiwe appeared briefly in the East London magistrate's court on Thursday for a bail application and to face a further three charges, including sabotaging their identity parade.

Their bail application was postponed to Friday.

Eastern Cape deputy director of Public Prosecutions, Malherbe Marais, opposed bail.

He entered a draft charge sheet, in which the brothers now face nine charges, as evidence. The charges are:

  • two counts of murder for the death of taxi driver Xolani Gongota on June 28 and Sugar Shack Delicatessen owner Martin Whitaker, on May 27;
  • three counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, two linked to the murders, and one for robbing Sonwabo Tini on May 24 near the Wilsonia railway station;
  • one count of housebreaking at the Haven Hills home of Gilbert Moti on July 1;
  • one count of illegal possession of four 9mm pistols and a 7.65mm pistol. Four of these guns were allegedly stolen during the armed robberies and the fifth is still missing;
  • one count of unlawful possession of ammunition; and
  • one count of fraud, or alternatively defeating or obstructing justice.

    The charges in the Whitaker case were previously dropped due to insufficient evidence, owing to a botched identity parade.

    The fraud charge relates to allegations that they sabotaged their identity parade, planning this while they were awaiting trial in a cell with 19 other prisoners.

    "The suspects had conspired with and/or persuaded their cellmates to participate in the ID parade and agreed with three of their cellmates to trade identities with them by exchanging their names with that of the suspects and vice versa," the charge sheet reads.

    "One of the two accused was pointed out by a witness but his alibi's name appeared on the ID parade form."

    Marais said the severity of the offences put the onus on the accused to prove why they should be given bail.

    The Ncamazanas' attorney, Pumelela Hole, handed in two affidavits, one for each brother, and said he might not call the accused or any witnesses for the bail application. This means the State will now have to prove why the Ncamazanas should not be given bail.

    Marais contested Hole's move saying it was "a cheap shot at reverse onus".

    Marais said the brothers had been linked by DNA and ballistic evidence to the scenes of the crimes.

    The bail application was postponed to Friday, and the brothers were remanded.

    "The public must be careful not to judge them before the case is finalised," Hole said. "Give the legal system a chance."

    The Ncamazana brothers dropped out of school, spent years in reformatories or prisons and are unemployed.

    The brothers' circumstances are detailed in affidavits handed in to the court in support of their bail application.

    Dumisani (26) and Simnikiwe (23) describe themselves as single and unemployed. They live in Cambridge township with their mother and three other brothers.

    Their father was stabbed to death last year.

    Dumisani left school during Standard 8. Simnikiwe left at the age of 15 while in Standard 5.

    In his affidavit, Dumisani said he had been involved in the Highgate, the Da Gama and the Bahai attacks for which he was granted amnesty, and the Nahoon Dam attack for which he received a presidential pardon. He also had a five-year suspended sentence for escaping from prison.

    Simnikiwe said he had been sentenced to corporal punishment for a 1993 housebreaking, sent to a reformatory for a 1994 housebreaking and jailed for two and a half years for a 1997 robbery or attempted robbery.

    He lives on a disability grant.

    Although no formal plea has yet been entered, both brothers said that they were not guilty. They said they could not drive so could not have stolen Martin Whitaker's car, and that no weapons had been found on them.

    Simnikiwe said he had been tortured by police.

    Dumisani said he had been at his initiation ceremony so could not have been involved in the June 28 murder and robbery of taximan Xolani Gongota and the subsequent housebreaking.

    "I cannot for the life of me fathom how a man who has just had his foreskin cut on June 29 at Cambridge township would on July 1 be involved in a robbery at Haven Hills. At that point I could not even walk properly.

    ©Copyright 2002, South African Press Association

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