There was pandemonium in Belfast after two white males Bruce Botha and Wayne Swart charged with assaulting Godfrey Masuku were released on R500 bail following the bail hearing at the Belfast magistrate court. Machadodorp residents had been bussed to Belfast to attend the bail hearing and when the judgement was issued to discharge the accused on R500 bail tensions and protests began outside the Belfast Court. The crowd of supporters who gathered outside the courts included the Emakhazeni Local Municipality Executive Mayor Thomas Ngwenya and the Nkangala District Municipality Speaker Lucky Ndinisa.

Lucky Ndinisa had during the week at a meeting in Machadodorp pledged the support of the ANC in Nkangala to Godfrey and to stand against such barbaric and inhumane acts which was displayed by these whites on Godfrey Masuku. When the crowd aired their dissatisfaction on the judgement, the SAPS public order policing unit opened fire on them with rubber bullets to disperse them. It is also alleged that one of the security officials at the magistrates’ court fired at the crowd with live ammunition but was quickly quelled down though his fire arm was not taken away from him.

One of the people who spoke to Highveld Chronicle stated that the SAPS officials are not cooperative and are bent on using force against the people, “the SAPS did not want to listen to us, we were trying to address the crowd on the outcome and then they started shooting at us, they want to use force all the time which is not the right approach”. The dispersed crowd proceeded back to Machadodorp where they blockaded the N4 highway and torched a heavy-duty truck. The group then went into Machadodorp and burnt set SAPS offices alight.

These acts of arsons and misconduct followed a series of arrests from the SAPS officials who locked up six people. The Police were also on guard and unsure about what would follow as they locked themselves inside the SAPS Marchadodorp premises. Brigadier Leonard Hlathi issued a statement condemning the violence and stating that the state was undertaking investigations so as to present a water tight case when the hearing proceeding commence on the 28th of September.

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