Bail application for Rhodes murder accused delayed

A Rhodes University “fees must fall” activist and four other men facing a murder charge will have to wait until Wednesday before they can make a formal bail application.

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Thembani “Zion Eyes” Onceya

Thembani “Zion Eyes” Onceya, 29, handed himself over to police last week  – a day after four men were arrested for the alleged murder of Thembelani Qwakanisa.

His co-accused include two of his brothers – Akhona Onceya and Simakele Onceya – and friends Sizwe Gqotholo and Mzwanele Maki.

Qwakanisa’s battered body was found wrapped in a carpet in a township dam two weeks ago.

Emotions ran high at the Grahamstown Magistrate’s Court this morning when magistrate Ntsoki Moni instructed orderlies to clear the gallery after a cellphone rang unanswered while she was speaking.

The instruction to clear the court was issued after the packed gallery was earlier ordered to turn off all phones before proceedings began.

Supporters of the accused, including family and university students, stood noisily  outside the locked court room alongside Qwakanisa’s family and  friends.

During proceedings it emerged that three of the men would be represented by Legal Aid while a fourth, who has previously  been to state mental hospitals for treatment, be sent for observation.

Onceya, a well-known local poet and student activist, is expected to be represented by a Grahamstown attorney.

The court however heard that money had not yet been paid over for the attorney to represent Onceya in court today.

The arrest of Onceya sent shock waves through the university and city.

After the men appeared, a group of about 25 people picketed outside the court building demanding the men not be given bail.

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