South Africans should oppose bail for 19 people accused of the fatal attack at a KwaZulu-Natal Shia mosque and the placement of several explosive devices at Durban shopping centres.
This was the view of Azad Seedat, the chairperson of the Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa, Verulam, where the attack, by three knife-wielding men in May this year, occurred.
Abbas Essop died during the attack, while Imam Ali Nchiyane and caretaker Mohammed Ali survived. The mosque's library was also petrol bombed.
Seedat made the comments on Monday, when the 19 people appeared in the Verulam Magistrate's Court.
The media and the public have been barred from attending the hearing due to the sensitive nature of the investigation. Heavily armed policemen kept guard inside and outside of the court.
"Everyone should be opposing bail. The accused have terrorised the people of South Africa. They have committed heinous crimes," said Seedat.
Seedat also told News24 that the attacks, especially the placing of bombs at malls around Durban, were matters of national security.
"They are a threat to South Africa. They didn't discriminate against anyone when they placed the bombs at malls around Durban. The attack on the mosque was a sectarian issue, but the planting of bombs at malls across South Africa was directed [at] all South Africans," he said.
On Monday, a group of people, mostly women from the mosque, protested outside the court.
Members of the media have also been camped outside the court.
The accused face 14 charges, including murder, attempted murder, arson, extortion and the violation of Pocdatara (The Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act).
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi previously said the charges related to 11 cases.
Various items were confiscated when the accused were arrested, including a ready-made incendiary device.
Seasoned lawyers such as advocate Jimmy Howse and Shaukat Karim were in court on Monday.
Karim told News24 on Monday that some of the accused were applying for bail and others were applying for a postponement.
He said he represented accused number three.