The family of the late president Nelson Mandela was overjoyed on Tuesday as one of his grandchildren, accused of raping a 15-year-old girl, was granted bail.
After spending over a week in jail, the 24-year-old father of three, who bears a striking resemblance to his grandfather, flashed a smile at his family in the gallery as he was led out of court.
Makaziwe and Ndaba Mandela were among some of the relatives who walked out of the courtroom beaming as they headed to an office of the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court to pay the young man’s R7 000 bail.
The accused may not be named until he has formally pleaded.
Delivering his verdict on the matter, Magistrate Pieter du Plessis said it should be understood that the court’s decision to grant the suspect bail did not mean the complainant’s version was perceived to be untruthful.
“Bail applications are not concerned with the guilt or innocence of the accused… Bail is concerned with where an accused awaits the time or period before trial or during the trial,” said Du Plessis.
He did say, however, that based on the evidence presented to the court thus far, there was a “reasonable prospect” that the accused would be acquitted.
“With the untested evidence before the court… there would seem to be some difficulties for the State,” said Du Plessis.
The State alleges that the young man raped the 15-year-old girl at a pub in Greenside on August 7.
In her affidavit, the victim claimed the accused had forcefully kissed her, put his hands in her pants and raped her.
The accused has disputed this.
His affidavit stated the sex was consensual and that he had no idea she was underage.
Pushing for bail, he claimed the pub where they had met did not allow entry to people under the age of 21.
The girl was also drinking and smoking, it was alleged, adding to the perception that she was older.
A chef from the pub handed in an affidavit claiming the pair were making out in the passageway of the pub.
He claimed to have witnessed nothing untoward.
Meanwhile, the bail conditions of the young man include him remaining at the same residential address, handing over his passport, not communicating with any witnesses and remaining in Gauteng.
He was also expected to report to the Norwood police station twice a week.
The matter continues on September 16. News24