THREE suspected illegal traders, who allegedly killed their colleague who had forced them to confront armed South African soldiers with stones along the Limpopo River, were yesterday denied bail by High Court judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The suspects, brothers — Lungisani (23), Isheunesu (25) and Pardon Ndhlera (25) — are accused of murdering Leeroy Mhlanga, who allegedly drowned in the Limpopo River, while being attacked by the trio.
After being remanded in custody by the magistrates’ court, the trio approached the High Court seeking provisional release pending trial, but their application was opposed by prosecutor Douglas Chesa.
In his response to the trio’s application, Chesa said the suspects were involved in some illegal enterprise between South Africa and Zimbabwe and this portrayed them as citizens who have no respect for the rule of law.
“Whether or not applicants are holders of legal travel documents is not important. The fact is that they have been using some illegal entry points to exit and enter the country. This makes it impossible, even with the imposition of most stringent conditions, to control their movements thus ensuring their presence at trial,” the prosecutor said, urging the court to dismiss the application.
“There is proof that applicants’ movement cannot be regulated and, therefore, there are real fears of abscondment.”
Allegations against the three arose sometime in April 2014 while they were at an illegal crossing point into South Africa along the Limpopo River, known as Museche.
It is alleged, they came across Mhlanga, who mobilised them to cross the river and fight South African soldiers with stones after abandoning his (Mhlanga) cartons of cigarettes across the Limpopo.
The State alleges the trio resisted the move, arguing they could not fight armed soldiers with stones and their refusal prompted a heated argument, which resulted in the brothers attacking Mhlanga, who then ran into the Limpopo River, where he reportedly drowned.
However, in their bail statements, they denied the allegations, claiming they were not to blame for Mhlanga’s death.
They said they believed Mhlanga could have drowned while running away from the Zimbabwean police, army and immigration officials, who had come to rescue Isheunesu, who was being attacked by the deceased and his colleagues.