THE nine people arrested for stoning 19-year-old Unathi Dastin to death on Monday after he was believed to have killed one child and stabbed another were all released from police custody on Wednesday.
Four of the nine suspects were released on Tuesday as police could not link them to Dastin’s murder, while the remaining five, one of whom was father of the murdered one-year-old child, were released on Wednesday after the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court dropped the charges against them.
The initial arrest of the nine on Monday followed residents from Site C A-Section killing Dastin after finding him at his sister’s house at about 1am on Monday.
From about 8am on Monday morning about 200 residents marched to the police station to demand that either they all be arrested for killing Dastin, or the nine accused be released.
Dastin was believed to have strangled one-year-old Cwega Dayimani on Saturday, who later died in hospital, and was then caught red-handed stabbing her elder brother Amila on Sunday. Amila was still being treated at the Red Cross Children’s hospital on Thursday.
Four of the accused were released on Tuesday afternoon as police could not link them to Dastin’s murder and hundreds of residents marched to the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court to support the remaining five who were due to appear.
Leading the march in support of the accused was Dastin’s aunt Nomtha Velebayi, who said the police must release Cwega and Amila’s father Mongezi Dayimani, as well as the four other accused.
Velebayi said Mongezi needed to prepare for his child’s funeral.
She said Dastin was her cousin’s son.
“He used to live with me and my other children. What he did was evil. Even now I’m still in shock. I don’t know why he did that because those children were like family to us.”
She said Dastin’s family did not press charges related to his murder because “he deserved what he got”.
The residents who had gathered outside court were overjoyed to hear that charges against the remaining five accused were dropped.
Outside court following their release, Mongezi Dayimani said: “I’m glad the charges were dropped, now I can bury my little Cwenga.”
He said no funeral arrangements had been made yet and he would have to discuss matters with his family when he got home.
Provincial police spokesperson Captain Frederick Van Wyk said five male suspects appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court on Wednesday in relation to Dastin’s murder, and were released after the court withdrew charges. — Nombulelo Damba