Juveniles among witnesses in fatal KZN rock-throwing case, court hears

There are at least five juvenile witnesses in a rock-throwing case that resulted in two young children being killed, the Verulam Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

Three men – Selvin Govender, his son Nathan and their employee Qiniso Gumbi – stand accused of two counts of murder, after a 7-year-old boy and 16-year-old sister were killed while travelling between Tongaat and Ballito.

Their father, who was driving the vehicle, was injured in the incident on December 27, 2017, when a boulder was thrown onto their car.

Provincial Organised Crime Unit investigating officer Detective Warrant Officer Ivan Padayachee took to the stand in the bail application for the three men, saying that the youngsters, who are known to the accused, would be key witnesses.

He added that one accused was still at large.

'Gruesome and cruel'

The children, thought to be aged between nine and 16, gave statements as eyewitnesses to the crime.

Padayachee described the crime as "gruesome and cruel", detailing the injuries to the victims. In opposing bail, he said the juveniles were afraid of the accused, who was well known in Greylands, Tongaat, where they reside.

"I have been investigating all cases of rock throwing. Cases of this nature are very serious. This is a double murder that left two young people very gruesomely killed. Bail would be an injustice to the victims and their family."

It was also revealed that Nathan had previous convictions, one of which was drug related and the other for drunken driving.

There have been several rock-throwing incidents along the province's highways since December 2017, especially on the N2 from Durban to the north of the province.

In another incident in January, a motorist was taken to hospital when a huge rock was thrown onto his car, also from an overhead bridge on the N2 between Ballito and Tongaat, north of Durban.

The matter will return to court on August 29.

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