Safety concerns reason Vlakfontein murder accused denied bail

The case was postponed in the Protea Magistrates Court on Monday to 2 April.

Murder co-accused Victor Khupe stands in the dock at the Lenasia Magistrates Court where the case was postponed on 20 November 2018. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The magistrate in the case of Vlakfontein murder accused Fita Khupe says he declined to release the suspect on bail as he is concerned for Khupe’s safety.

The case was postponed in the Protea Magistrates Court on Monday to 2 April.

Khupe and Ernest Mabaso are accused of murdering seven members of the same family in October last year.

Mabaso has since committed suicide.

Magistrate David Mhango says that he is concerned that angry residents may kill Khupe if he is released on bail.

Mhango says Khupe is also a flight risk and may also intimidate the witnesses.

“Should Mr Khupe be admitted to bail, the outstanding witnesses will be reluctant to come forward.”

There's been speculation that co-accused Mabaso's suicide may put the State's case in jeopardy.

However, the National Prosecuting Authority's Phindi Njonondwane has refuted this.

“The State has many options that can be used to ensure a conviction in this case against Mr Khupe.”

Khupe's lawyer has declined to confirm if they will be appealing the decision.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)