15-year-old one of 11 suspects in court for killing e-hailing driver

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The suspects accused of killing e-hailing driver Abongile Mafalala in Parkwood, Cape Town made another appearance in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 13 June.

MOB ATTACK CASE POSTPONED

Remano Witbooi, Cheslyn Spanenberg and a 15-year-old minor joined their co-accused Zharnay Johnson, Antonio Bailey, Ivan Ruiters, Nathan Leeman, Yuven Nawat, Bradley Murphy, Carlton Williams and Ashwin Tifflon in the dock on Monday.

All 11 of the accused are charged with the murder of Abongile Mafalala, 31, who was stoned, assaulted and set alight in Parkwood on Tuesday, 31 May.

They also face charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and malicious damage to property.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the case was postponed to 23 June for an advocate from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to be appointed to the matter.

The 15-year-old suspect was released into the care of his guardians, added the NPA spokesperson.

FAKE NEWS LED TO MAFALALA’S DEATH

Leeman, Nawat, Murphy, Williams and Tifflon made their first court appearance on 6 June. On that occasion, the court heard that more arrests were expected and the matter was postponed for the State to gather and verify bail information.

Some of the accused were also in the process of appointing private attorneys.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) believes Mafalala’s brutal murder was motivated by fake news spread on social media.

The mob attack was recorded and widely shared on multiple platforms. The messaging spread suggested that the deceased was involved in kidnappings in the Parkwood area.

This was a lie. The police confirmed he was not linked to any incidents of kidnapping. No kidnappings were reported in the area either.

READ: Parkwood mob attack: Fake news led to death of an innocent man, say police

In the wake of Mafalala’s death, SAPS said it noted with concern various social media posts about kidnappings and abductions in the Cape Town metro and outlying areas.

“It is on this basis, as a law enforcement agency, that we wish to caution social media users against posting of unverified information about kidnappings/abductions.

“Since the launch of the National Child Protection week, the SAPS has observed false accounts of child kidnappings/abductions,” said Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi.

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