20 November 2018

South Africa: Vlakfontein Murders - Unexpected Power Outage Leads to Postponement of Case

The highly publicised Vlakfontein murder case was rolled over to Wednesday, November 21, due to an unexpected power outage at the Lenasia Magistrate's Court building on Tuesday.

"There is a high interest in this case and there is no use in keeping the media, family as well as the public here if we cannot proceed with the case," Magistrate Maggie van der Merwe told the court.

Fita Khupe, 61, and another male suspect, 27, made a brief appearance in the Lenasia Magistrate's Court in the hopes of proceeding with their formal bail application.

The two suspects are accused of murdering seven members of the Khoza family in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg.

The police found the bodies of three women and four children buried under sand in a house in Vlakfontein on October 29 after neighbours noticed a stench coming from the house.

The younger suspect was allegedly romantically involved with one of the murder victims, although the motive for the murders has not been revealed yet.

Khupe is facing seven counts of murder, while his co-accused, who cannot be named because he has not pleaded, faces seven counts of murder and an additional three counts of rape.

Prosecutor Tumelo Maunye emphasised to the court that it could not be guaranteed that electricity in the court building would be restored.

"The electrician communicated that wires are burnt, and he may need other parts to restore the power but there is no guarantee that all will be restored by tomorrow," he told the court.

Family disappointed with postponement

Van der Merwe stated that the court would have to take that risk to avoid any further delay.

"I am only available until Thursday, November 22, and I am thereafter unavailable for two weeks, therefore it is important for us to proceed with this case," she explained.

The case was previously postponed to accommodate the 27-year-old suspect who instructed his newly appointed lawyer to proceed with a formal bail application.

The father of an 11-year-old who was killed at the house says that this case has brought substantial pain to the family and they cannot afford any further delays.

"I cannot wait another two weeks for this case. I am sick of coming here each and every time.

"This case is killing us, it is killing the whole family," he told News24 outside court.

The two suspects remain in police custody.

Source: News24

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