By Thina Bhengu
The bail application of three of the five men arrested for assaulting a black couple was postponed in the Pretoria North magistrate’s court on Wednesday.
After hearing submissions from lawyers representing Stephen Nel, Joshua Scholtz and 21-year-old Dicky Junior van Rooyen, Magistrate Motlhoki Rapulana said State prosecutor Ronnie Sibanda will submit his closing arguments on Friday, before she announces the day when she will hand down her ruling.
She indicated in court that she will need to “apply her mind” before ruling on the trio’s bail application – which has been opposed by the State.
Nel, Scholtz, and Van Rooyen are charged together with 23-year-old Marius Harding and 20-year-old Ockert Muller.
The five are facing charges of attempted murder, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, and pointing a firearm.
The vicious attack at a KFC drive-through in Pretoria North was captured on cellphone video and the clip went viral on social media earlier this month.
There was a public outcry leading to the arrest of the five men.
On Wednesday, the investigating officer, Constable William Tladi told the court that violence could erupt if the three are granted bail.
Members of the African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League have been consistently protesting at the court.
On Wednesday, numerous members of the Black First Land First (BLF) were also in the packed courtroom. Some had to sit on the floor as the public gallery was full.
During an adjournment, BLF deputy secretary general Tshidiso Tsimong said “anything could happen” if the accused men got bail.
“There is a lot of things that can happen. As the community and as BLF we are very upset with the manner they [the five accused] conducted themselves. Anything could happen. The might disappear, they could visit Europe or as things stand, they might even visit heaven. We don’t know in detail what will happen,” Tsimong told the African News Agency.
“We are asking the magistrate to act accordingly and not grant them bail. We don’t see it as the rightful thing to do. They wronged the system. They needed to come up with a defense that shows they are not a threat to society, but they have failed to do so.”
Earlier on Wednesday, members of lobby group AfriForum were also at the court, protesting against “double standards” in the handling of racial issues in South Africa.
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said the courts should decide whether the incident which sparked a massive public outcry was racial or not.
Last week, the commander of the detective branch at the Sinoville police station in Pretoria North told the court that the men, accused of assaulting a married couple, should not be granted bail for the safety of the victims and their young children.
Warrant Officer Ravi Vengetsamy Naidoo told the court that incidents of racially motivated attacks were prevalent in his area of policing and “it is usually whites on blacks or blacks on whites”.