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Limpopo ‘human parts sellers’ appear in court

Members of the community protested outside the court demanding that the two suspects not be released on bail.

The bail application of two men accused of killing a woman for body parts has been postponed in the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Magistrate Michael Mamabolo postponed the court case of Edward Raatji and Stanely Mohlake who were scheduled to make a formal bail application.

Raatji, 50, and Mohlake, 33, were accused of the murder of an unknown woman who was found killed and burnt at Mapela village outside Mokopane a week ago.

Initially, they were arrested for possession of human body parts that were allegedly going to be used for muti purposes.

The arrests came after they were allegedly found selling human body parts – a head and female genitalia – at a taxi rank in Polokwane.

A day later, they allegedly pointed out the crime scene where police discovered the badly burnt body.

State prosecutor Meivel Mashaba asked the magistrate to transfer the case to another court.

Before proceedings started, Raatji was called and he refused to ascend to the dock from the holding cells, saying that he did not want to be filmed or photographed by members of the media.

The court reminded him that the case was in the public interest and as an accused his rights were limited. Mashaba also argued that members of the media have rights too, and such rights should not be oppressed.

Mamabolo postponed the case and transferred it to Mokerong Magistrates’ Court. Villagers welcomed the decision, saying the court was closer to their homes.

The defence was expected to apply for bail when the case resumes on Wednesday.

Members of the community protested outside the court demanding that the two suspects not be released on bail.

“We are living in fear, and if they are to be released we don’t know how life will continue, because we also fear for the safety of our children,” said community leader Petrus Mojela.

Meanwhile, Raatji’s house was allegedly burnt to the ground over the weekend, allegedly by angry community members.

No arrests have been made in connection with that incident.

Police spokesman Colonel Ronel Otto told African News Agency that forensic investigations to identify the charred body were still underway.

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