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Couple who allegedly forced child to eat faeces granted bail
Khulula CDP CHildren;s rights activist Patros Majo
Khulula CDP CHildren;s rights activist Patros Majola outside Komani Magistrate's Court with picketers. Photo: Zolile Menzelwa

The Komani couple accused of attempted murder and assault to cause grievous bodily harm, after allegedly forcing a 12-year-old boy to eat his own faeces, was granted bail by the Komani Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 23 June despite public outcry against it. 

The couple was at first charged with a schedule 5 offence, but after defence attorney, Ntembeko Mtwa of Jaxa Attorneys, argued in court that the couple should be charged with a schedule 1 offence, the prosecutor Pamela Piliso, agreed.

Mtwa said it was in the interest of justice for the accused Asanda Mkoko (39) and Ayabulela Yolanda Buso (28) to get bail. He said while it was alleged that the child was beaten by a broom stick, there were no physical scars. 

The court had to adjourn to 14:00 for Magistrate Vuyiseka Myoli to deliver her judgement.

Going back to court was a challenge as there were many people who wanted to go into the courtroom. The families of the accused were also in attendance.

Following the intervention of children’s right activist Patros Majola, it was agreed that five journalists who were at the court could go in, as well as three family members of the accused and 12 from the family of the victim.

Giving her judgement in the bail application, Myoli said the medical report had no mention of the young boy eating faeces and that there were no visible scars. The applicants, she said, had two unmonitored children, aged 8 and 3. In their affidavit, Myoli said, the duo said they had never been convicted of a crime and had no pending cases.

Myoli said while the investigating officer testified that Mkoko would be dismissed by his employer due to the case, labour laws did not allow for people to be dismissed like that. 

“Bail should not be used as a means to punish people. Courts should not be used to score political points or please uninformed community members. The court should be the custodian of the law. The applicants said they won’t plead guilty because they say the events of the day were exaggerated. I then find that it is in the interest of justice to release the applicants on R500 bail each,” Myoli said.

The two accused were granted bail with conditions. These included that they inform the investigating officer of their change of address. Myoli said if they failed to do so, this would be a criminal offence. 

The case was then postponed to 14 July for trial.

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