Charges dropped against accused in KZN murders

Charges against a man accused of participating in the murder of ten KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) women were withdrawn in the Umzinto Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The state has withdrawn its charges against Zandisile Bhadla Somanikiniki (28), who resides in the Majola, Port St Johns, area but no reasons were given for the withdrawal.

The court heard that the remaining two accused had failed to make an application for bail.

Magistrate Giel van Aarde has granted the state’s application for the case to be heard in-camera.

However, during the state’s application for the in-camera proceedings, state prosecutor advocate Noxolo Tokwana said the state had withdrawn its charges against accused number two (Somanikiniki).

Somanikiniki appeared in the Eastern Cape’s Libode Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of a double murder, a murder and an armed robbery.

Superintendent Leonie Verster, head of the Eastern Cape’s organised crime unit, said on Tuesday that Somanikiniki appeared at the Libode court for armed robbery and the murder of Inspector Sithembiso Bavuma at the Libode police station on September 1 2006.

The accused also appeared on a double murder charge for allegedly killing a man and his girlfriend in August 2006. Verster said the case was remanded until November 7.

Somanikiniki is also wanted for two more cases in the Eastern Cape, three cases in Welkom and a few cases in Rustenberg.

In the two Eastern Cape cases, Verster said the man was implicated in an armed robbery that took place in August 2006 and a murder warrant had been executed for him in a fourth case that took place in 2004.

“For the 2004 case, he will appear at the Umtata Supreme Court on 22 October,” she said.

She was unable to give further details on that case.

Somanikiniki was arrested in KwaZulu-Natal after being linked as an accomplice in the murder of ten women, whose decomposed bodies were found in the sugar-cane fields surrounding Umzinto’s Shayamoya township since the beginning of September.

A group of 150 people staged a protest outside the Umzinto Magistrate’s Court.
Some had banners calling for the death penalty while another read “You have robbed a mother of her child”.

There was a heavy police presence around the court with a water cannon parked at the entrance of the premises.

The case was postponed to November 9 for further investigation.—Sapa

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