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‘Pick up your socks’: Magistrate tells Gauteng police after unruly crowd storms court

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‘Pick up your socks’: Magistrate tells Gauteng police after unruly crowd storms court
EMPD members outside Tsakane Magistrate's Court ahead of the appearance of seven EMPD officers facing serious charges.


EMPD members outside Tsakane Magistrate’s Court ahead of the appearance of seven EMPD officers facing serious charges.

  • A Gauteng magistrate lashed out at police for failing to deal with an unruly crowd at court.
  • The crowd brought down the Tsakane Magistrate’s Court’s main gate and damaged a glass door.
  • Some residents were angry that seven EMPD officers were granted bail.

An irritated magistrate lambasted the Gauteng police for failing to deal with lawlessness and the intimidation of court officials.

Without mincing words, the irate Magistrate Ron Mncwabe warned that no court building nor official must ever be under any threat.

Mncwabe was delivering his bail judgment against seven Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department officers accused of murder.

Addressing the packed Tsakane Magistrate’s Court on Friday, Mncwabe accused police officers of folding their arms when unruly Tsakane residents attacked the court building.

The crowd brought down the court’s main gate and damaged the door leading to the building.

(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)Chaos outside the Tsakane Magistrate’s Court.

News24 Jeanette Chabalala, News24

A month ago, officers used stun grenades to disperse an unruly crowd that inflicted similar damage on the building.

Community members were angered by the granting of bail and release of Laurens Daniel Venter, 49, Nkululeko Walter Mtetwa, 36, Daniel Eric van Wyk, 39, Gideon Johannes Myburg, 60, Justin Sibusiso Ncube, 50, Thamodhran Pillay, 50, and Eugene Phillip Raubenheimer, 62. 

The officers allegedly killed the unarmed Kwenzokwakhe Shabalala, 23, and injured Zenzele Mgaga on 8 September at Langaville, Extension 6, in Tsakane.

The officers claimed they were following up on information about people possessing drugs and dangerous weapons that day.

Following the arrest of the seven officers, residents staged protests outside the court building, forcing security guards to prevent them from accessing the building.

READ | Protesters break down court gate, smash glass as murder-accused traffic officers appear

“There have been acts of violence outside the court. The gates of the court were broken. The state had to pay to fix those gates because of actions by an unruly crowd. The community became unruly even before the accused brought their bail application or delivered a verdict.

The magistrate fumed:

They destroyed the property of the state and some privately owned vehicles. The court has to deliver a just decision without fear or favour. Men and women in blue should pull up their socks.

“The prosecutor even asked if we were safe because of the unruly crowd outside. They committed acts of criminality. They should be appearing in this court as accused persons to face the consequences of their acts,” said Mncwabe.

Unhappy 

“If one isn’t happy with what is happening, one should approach the justice system, which is better placed to deal with each situation. This court will not be held ransom to decide in a particular way.

“Until this case is finalised, the decisions will be based on laws and facts … for the court to decide. Court officials are being threatened that should the accused be granted bail, Tsakane would be made ungovernable. That is unacceptable.”

Mncwabe said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) should have warned residents that they would be arrested if they took the law into their hands.

READ | Tsakane residents threaten violence if seven EMPD cops charged with murder get bail

“Does that mean the court should condone such acts of violence? We should talk against it. Otherwise, we will have a South Africa that doesn’t have the rule of law. There is the rule of law in South Africa that applies to anyone who breaks the law.

(Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Chaos at the Tsakane Magistrate’s Court.

News24 Jeanette Chabalala, News24

“The community demands selective justice. When they commit acts of criminality, then nothing should happen to them.

“There is no selective justice in South Africa. If you commit acts of criminality, this court will sit and see that you face the law. These are the same community members where, when they encounter problems, they dial 10111. They want the same judicial officers to apply the law when it suits them,” said Mncwabe.

The officers were later granted R3 000 bail each.

They were ordered to report to their nearest police station every Wednesday between 06:00 and 18:00.

They were also ordered not to contact witnesses directly or indirectly and to surrender their passports to IPID.

The case was postponed until 20 October.

After the court proceedings, a group of men went to the Tsakane police station, which is attached to the court building, and insulted the police.

EMPD and SAPS officers in uniform and civilian clothes received a barrage of insults and death threats.

. by [author_name]

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