The state has been granted another two weeks to finalise its indictment against four suspects linked to more than 12 murders in Khayelitsha in Cape Town.

State prosecutor Mervyn Menigo asked for the extension to consult witnesses at the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Monday. He added that further developments in the case last week necessitated a postponement. 

He confirmed that the state had a draft indictment in place, but needed more time to finalise it.  

Lundi Zweni, Yanga Nyalara, Wandile Tofile and Manelisi Ngumla face 31 charges, include 12 counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, several counts of illegal possession of firearms and the illegal possession of ammunition.

The state alleges that Nyalara and Tofile are prominent members of a violent gang involved in criminal activities, including the extortion of informal businesses in Khayelitsha.

Allegations against Nyalara, aka Bara, a business person and taxi owner, are in stark contrast to Khayelitsha residents’ view of him. At a previous court appearance in October, a large group of protesters from Khayelitsha’s TR Section held up placards calling for his release. 

Khaya Xama, a ward councillor in Khayelitsha, said he knew Nyalara as someone who assisted those around him and described him as a “good asset” to the community. 

“We can only talk about what we’ve seen, heard and what we know,” Xama said, recalling instances where he said Nyalara would step in to assist when residents could not afford funeral costs or school necessities such as shoes and clothes.

In addition to the 12 murders, Nyalara and Ngumla have been charged with six counts of murder committed on 8 May in Khayelitsha. 

Lawyer Phindile Vepile, who represents the four accused, did not oppose the state’s request for postponement. 

The case was remanded to 29 November, when the accused are expected to be indicted and the matter transferred to the high court.

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