The family of a man who was brutally murdered, allegedly because he was openly gay, says they welcome the court’s decision to deny the accused bail.

Sphamandla Khoza died after he was stabbed numerous times last month.

Earlier, the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court, north of Durban, denied Thando Mgenge bail, saying he is facing a serious charge and he failed to give strong reasons for him to be released.

The public gallery in the courtroom was packed with Khoza’s relatives and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. They were all eagerly awaiting the court’s ruling in the bail application.

In his ruling, Magistrate Amos Mchunu said the accused was handed over to police by his sister. He also said the victim was found by a security guard who followed a blood trail to where the body was hidden.

Magistrate Mchunu reminded Mgenge that he was facing a serious crime.

Judgment in the bail application of Thando Mgenge:

In his bail application Mgenge focused on his personal circumstances. While Mgenge told the court that he had helped the police in the investigation, Magistrate Mchunu said he showed no remorse.

It transpired in court that the accused has a relative that is gay and he allegedly cannot live in a same house with him.

The court denied Mgenge bail.

Outside the court, Khoza’s father Nkosinathi Chamane thanked members of the LGBTQIA+ community for supporting his family.

“I’m relieved. So far, according to the court ruling, so far today, we are so much grateful. It is promising, although the case is not yet finished and we still have to wait for the court decision. But since the murderer is not granted bail, we are so relieved and I want to thank the investigating officers, the members of the LGBTQIA+, my family, friends and my employers to allow me to be in court everyday.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of South Africa has welcomed the decision.

Glasa Secretary Frank Gazu says they are really happy.

“Our position, we are very elated and indeed, we are very happy. Like we said last week, we are more than confident that the state was going to deny him bail based on the evidence that was brought in court the state has against him. We are very much happy. We are delighted that for a change the justice system is indeed prevailing. We are also monitoring the developments in other similar cases as well where we are calling on the judges to deny perpetrators of hate crime bail.”

Meanwhile, Director of the KwaZulu-Natal LGBT Recreation Hlengiwe Buthelezi says they will be monitoring the case.

“So far, we are very happy for the fact that he did not get bail. That is why we came out here in numbers, to oppose bail. That is a victory. However, we have to monitor this case that it must not delay like it did the last time.”

Mgenge will be back in court on the 31st of May.