The Verulam Magistrate’s Court has provisionally withdrawn charges against seven people who appeared for a formal bail application in connection with the Verulam mosque attack and the planting of incendiary devices around Durban.
One of the accused, 38-year-old Goolam Haffejee from Parlock in Durban, was granted bail of R100 000.
In total, 19 suspects appeared in court.
The charges against them include murder, attempted murder, offences relating to explosive devices, arson, extortion and terrorism.
Proceedings got off to a late start at the court. Some of the accused required a Swahili interpreter who was not in court.
Haffejee was granted bail on the grounds that he had no previous convictions, that he was not pointed out in an identity parade, and that he was not considered a flight risk.
He may not leave KwaZulu-Natal without written permission from the investigating officer.
Neither may he communicate with state witnesses or apply for any travel documents.
He will next appear on the 29th of November.
The state did indicate that they may approach the seven suspects who have had the 14 charges against them dropped, to become state witnesses.
Hawks Spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi says, “It talks to issues of justice. They made their arguments. One of the suspects that was given R100 000 bail … there are still charges that he is facing and the other seven. It’s not an entire withdrawal of the case. It’s just provisional withdrawal, which means they can be brought back to court.”
Outside, the court was a crowd of demonstrators who held placards demanding that all the accused be denied bail.
Among the demonstrators were members from the Imam Hussein mosque in Verulam and the family of Abbas Essop who was killed in the attack on the mosque in May 2018.
His brother, Farouq Essop, says they have full faith in the justice system.
“We are still very Confident in the law. We’ve got full confidence in the prosecution to bring the perpetrators to book. It’s still early days in terms of the trial. We just glad there are suspects brought in and of course it’s going to take a few months if not a few years before this case is wrapped up.”
The bail application will continue on the 22nd and 23rd of October. By Prabashini Moodley