News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

Alleged ‘anti-TAC’ gangster waives bail application in bid for speedy trial

An alleged Khayelitsha gangster accused of attacking and intimidating Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) members and gender activists yesterday (03/06/2008) abandoned his bail application in an attempt to speed up his trial for attempted murder. Yanga Janet, 22, appeared briefly before magistrate Maya Prag in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of attempted murder and intimidation.

The state alleges that Janet shot TAC member Mandla Nkunkuma in the back on the night of December 16, 2005, after Nkunkuma and others had rushed to the scene where one of their fellow TAC members, Nandipha Makeke, was raped and murdered.

Janet was arrested shortly thereafter and charged with Makeke’s murder, as well as the attempted murder of Nkumkuma. But the docket related to Nkumkuma’s attempted murder went missing, and Janet, along with Zukile Fumbata, was acquitted in March in Makeke’s murder trial due to lack of evidence.

Bonga Sibozi, 19, and Thembinkosi Tukani, 27, were sentenced each to 20 years behind bars for Makeke’s murder. Janet received no bail during the murder trial and ended up sitting behind bars for over two years before being released after his acquittal.

However, the attempted murder docket mysteriously re-appeared on April 1 this year, but with Nkumkuma’s medical records missing. The case was re-opened after the TAC acquired the necessary medical records from Tygerberg hospital, where Nkunkuma received medical attention, and Janet was re-arrested on May 16.

Janet has also has an interim interdict from the Cape High Court against him, preventing him from harassing or intimidating TAC members following a TAC submission to the court in April that they and other gender activists in Harare, Khayelitsha, were subjected to physical and verbal attacks by Janet and “a loose association of gangsters”.

In court yesterday Janet, represented by legal aid attorney Alex Mkandawire, told the court he was waiving his bail application because he wanted his trial to go ahead as soon as possible. He said he had no knowledge of the attempted murder charge he faced and only knew of being charged for Makeke’s murder, for which he had been acquitted.

Present during the court proceedings, Harare police station commissioner Selone Moses said everything the prosecution needed was in the case docket, including the previously missing medical records, witnesses’ statements and a ballistic report. The case was postponed until July 17 for further investigation. Janet remains behind bars.

* Reporting by Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: courts HIV/AIDS

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