The court has granted Sekola Matlaletsa R5,000 bail while his co-accused Skwetje Mahlamba will stay behind bars as his bid has been denied.
Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba, the two suspects accused of murdering Brendin Horner, appear at the Senekal Magistrates Court on 16 October 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN
SENEKAL – The Senekal Magistrates Court has ruled that it would not be in the interests of justice to keep murder accused Sekola Matlaletsa behind bars as there is no compelling evidence linking him to the killing of Brendin Horner.
The court has granted Matlaletsa R5,000 bail while his co-accused Skwetje Mahlamba will stay behind bars as his bid has been denied.
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The pair were arrested earlier this month after Horner’s body was found hanging from a pole in the area.
The killing sparked outrage in the Free State town, with farmers calling for government intervention.
The Senekal Magistrates Court’s split ruling comes as a surprise as the State claimed that both the accused acted with the common purpose to kill Horner.
While delivering judgment on Thursday afternoon, Magistrate Deon van Rooyen said that there was no direct link to connect Matlaletsa to the crime.
“In particular, no direct evidence to link applicant number two to the conditions of the crimes, direct evidence, in the sense of eyewitnesses, etc. The result of the evidence taking inside and outside the scene are inconclusive.”
He said that he could not say the same for Mahlamba: “Two of the witnesses overheard him discuss how they attacked a white man on a farm. One of the witnesses saw him taking out a wallet and a cellphone.”
Despite asking for bail of between R500 and R1000, Matlalesta’s bail has been set at R5,000.
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CASE AGAINST MATLALETSA WEAK
The magistrate in the Senekal farm murder case said he would be failing in his judicial duty if he denied bail to one of the accused just to keep public peace.
Van Rooyen said that the State’s case against Matlaletsa was weak and he has been granted bail but Mahlamba will stay behind bars.
Both men have denied being involved in the murder, saying that they were home on the night Horner was killed.
Van Rooyen said he was unconvinced of the State’s case against Matlaletsa, addressing each reason that the State gave to deny him bail.
“He provided an alibi witness. That alibi witness was the wife of applicant number two. A statement was obtained from the wife of applicant number two.”
But he has denied Mahlamba bail base on what he said was his dishonesty: “The fact that he lied to the police that the shack was locked and that secondly, he lied about his presence in the shack during the discovery of the trousers created a suspicion.”
Matlaletsa must also report to the local police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for his bail not to be revoked.