Forest High School case postponed to Monday for bail judgment

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JOHANNESBURG, June 6 – The bail application of 19-year-old Muhammad Mowela, a learner from Forest High School who allegedly stabbed and killed fellow learner Daniel Bakwela, was postponed on Thursday by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

The magistrate said he needed time to make a decision and would only deliver judgment on the bail application on Monday. Mowela was remanded in custody.

On Monday, June 3, Mowela allegedly murdered 16-year-old Daniel Bakwela outside the school premises.

The state prosecutor told the court that the offence was a schedule five offence and that they were not opposing bail.

Affidavits compiled by Mowela and the investigating officer were submitted to the court.

Mowela said in his affidavit, which was read into the court record by his legal representative Mudi Mavhengani, that he was dependent on his family and that being incarcerated would affect his studies as he was currently a grade eleven learner at Forest High School.

Mowela said he intended to plead not guilty. He said he was approached by the Stouter Kinders gang members while he was at school to write two exams when Daniel Bakwela dropped his knife after hitting him with a stone. He said he picked up the knife and stabbed Bakwela while trying to protect himself. He said his actions were in self-defence.

The investigating officer said in his affidavit that Bakwela was accompanying his friend because he had been assaulted by Mowela previously. He said Mowela then stabbed Bakwela and injured two other boys. He said Mowela was later arrested in Soweto at his aunt’s home.

The state prosecutor did not read out Mowela’s alternative address for safety reasons.

The investigating officer said he did not believe Mowela was a flight risk, despite having family in Tanzania.

He said Mowela going back into the community where Bakwela was from would have an impact on his safety.

“It would have an impact if the accused [Mowela] went back to the community and to Forest High School,” the investigating officer said while testifying.

Mowela testified that he knew that Bakwela and the two others with him were part of the Stouter kinders gang.

He told the court that he did not go to school with the knife but picked it up after Bakwela dropped it accidentally when he attacked Mowela.

It is alleged that the 19-year-old grade 11 learner stabbed three fellow learners. Bakwela died on the scene, while the other two male learners, both aged 16, were rushed to a local Hospital after sustaining injuries.

The investigating officer said he had spoken to the Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona and they had agreed that an arrangement would be made for Mowela to be transferred to another school for his safety.

“We have consulted with the district and according to the legislation he must be given a fair hearing. In this instance, the school will suspend the learner but he will be given an opportunity to write his examinations,” Mabona said while testifying.

The matter has been postponed to Monday for judgment.

– African News Agency (ANA)