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Vlakfontein suspects charged with murder, rape & theft

The pair was arrested at the weekend, one at the border between Mpumalanga and Limpopo and the other in Dobsonville, Soweto.

Ernest Mabaso and Fita Khuphe, the two men accused of killing seven family members in Vlakfontein, appear in the Lenasia Magistrates Court on 5 November 2018. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Bail application for one of the Vlakfontein murder accused has been postponed while the second man has abandoned bail.

Ernest Mabaso, the man police had earlier identified as Ernest Khoza, will be held at Johannesburg Central after abandoning his bail application.

Fita Khupe’s application will be heard on 12 November.

Mabaso’s lawyer told the Lenasia Magistrates Court that he had abandoned his bail application out of fear for his life.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it will be opposing bail.

Spokesperson Phindile Mjonondwane says: “As the State, we’ll be opposing bail. I feel members of the Khoza family were gruesomely murdered and this is a schedule six offence, so accused number two must bring exceptional circumstances for him to be released on bail. We feel he should be kept in custody until he’s dealt with by the law.”

Mabaso and his co-accused Khupe will be remanded in custody until their next appearance.

Meanwhile, some Vlakfontein residents gathered outside the Lenasia Magistrates Court on Monday morning in support of the family.

The pair was arrested at the weekend, one at the border between Mpumalanga and Limpopo and the other in Dobsonville, Soweto.

Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says efforts of the police and community led to their arrests.

Nkosi-Malobane addressed those gathered outside the court. She says without the community’s help, the arrests of the two men wouldn’t have been possible.

“The community of Vlakfontein were exemplary in assisting police in this particular case.”

The seven family members were laid to rest in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday. Some of their relatives will attend court proceedings.

The motives for the murders remain unknown.

WATCH: Vlakfontein murder suspect an impostor - Nkosi-Malobane

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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