ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday June 25, 2003
Cape Times (South Africa), June 24, 2003
June 24, 2003
Untata: The district court here yesterday granted 12 people, who were arrested arrested in connection with the discovery of eight shallow graves inside a church compound in the area, bail of R300 each.
The bodies of the deceased would be exhumed today, SAPS Superintendent Nondumiso Jafta said.
Vegetables such as spinach and cabbage were already growing on top of some of the graves.
The court ordered that the 12 should not go anywhere near the compound, which is under police guard.
The 12 were arrested last week after the police discovered the graves at the church compound in the Mandela informal settlement near Umtata.
A large group of people were living and worshipping at the compound, claiming they were awaiting the return of Jesus Christ.
Jafta said the police would bring charges of concealment of deaths and defeating the ends of justice against the arrested men.
Investigating officer Inspector Bongani Ntanjana, with Mandela informal settlement Chief Jonas Ndzambule, told the court they feared for the lives of the accused should they be released on bail.
Threats had already been made to set the compound on fire, he said.
The court heard that the church, which Ndzambule said did not have a name, had surfaced in 1998.
Some reports had it that no one was allowed to leave the compound except the church elders, some of whom were teachers at schools around Umtata. Children from the compound were barred from going to school.
Ntanjana said the police had found the graves after a relative of one of the children staying at the compound came to see her. The relative was told the child had died early this year and had been buried.
He said that according to the accused, some of the dead came from Matatiele and Tsolo, while others came from as far afield as Cookhouse in the Western Cape.
Those who received bail are Bazil Lingani, Vuyani Lengetya, Bulelani Silwana, Sipho Damfana, David Lingani, Mongezi Sonjica, Zukile Fiphaza, Odwa Mbuqe, Welcome Dukuza, Sisonke Nokhwali, Vuyo Mvuleni and Sitywinelo Dukuza.
The trial was postponed until Friday.
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