Baby-throwing dad case postponed
The man accused of throwing his 1-year-old daughter from the roof of a shack last week made a brief appearance in the New Brighton Magistrate's Court in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
The 38-year-old, whose name is being withheld in the interest of the child, was photographed in a dramatic series of pictures on Thursday last week as he threatened to throw his child off the roof of a shack.
Constable Luyolo Nojulumba caught the child after the suspect made good on his threat.
"The first thing on my mind was just to save that baby. We wanted to make sure that the baby would not fall down," Nojulumba said.
Nojulumba was one of a number of police officers deployed to the Joe Slovo informal settlement on Thursday for crowd management during a demolition process by the municipality. He attended Monday's proceedings.
Prosecutor Nontshumayelo Balicawa said the father was being charged with the lesser offence of child abuse, after he was arrested on a charge of attempted murder by police last week.
Balicawa said the charge could be escalated to attempted murder once investigations were completed.
Balicawa then asked for the matter to be postponed for further investigation.
Legal aid attorney Mxolisi Moolman argued that his client should have been released on bail.
He said the State couldn't ask for a remand based on charges it may or may not bring against him.
Balicawa asked for a brief adjournment to consult with her seniors.
Evictees at court
On resumption she pointed out that the police had not confirmed the new address given by the father. His home in the Joe Slovo informal settlement was demolished by the municipality last week.
Moolman argued that the State was using the address as an excuse.
"It is common cause that the shelter was demolished. The police had 48 hours to verify the new address. Why must my client sit in jail because someone didn't do their job properly?"
Magistrate Shivan Maharaj said it was a fresh case before the court, and that the address needed to be verified.
She also said it would be in the child's best interest to get a social worker's report.
She then postponed the case to April 23.
A small group of residents who were part of the community that was evicted also attended proceedings. The group sang and danced outside the court and demanded that the man be set free.
Provincial leader of the DA Ngaba Bhanga and national spokesperson on police Zakhele Mbhele also attended proceedings.