CAPE TOWN Sept 6 1996 Sapa


Three men charged with murder arising from the massacre of 11 people at the St James' Church in Cape Town on July 25, 1993 were on Friday granted bail of R10,000 each.

More than 60 worshippers were wounded when gunmen burst into the church and sprayed the congregation with automatic rifle fire and threw handgrenades.

Sichumiso Simpiwe Nonxuba, 30, of Oudtshoorn, Tobela Mlambisa, 25, of De Aar and Basie Mzukisi Mkhumbuzi, 19, of Ou Kruispad, were granted bail in the Cape Town Supreme Court.

They also face charges of attempted murder and illegal possession of arms and ammunition.

Nonxuba and Mlambisa are members of the SA National Defence Force.

Bail for the accused was refused by a magistrate earlier this year and they have been in custody since then.

State counsel Willie Viljoen on Friday told the court the state no longer opposed bail as the accused intended applying to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for amnesty.

It would be senseless to continue with the case until the outcome of their amnesty application was known, he said.

If the men were "unnecessarily" tried, it would cost taxpayers at least R15000 a day.

Viljoen said many people accused of the same type of attacks had already been freed on bail and it would be unfair to keep the accused in custody until their trial began in mid-1997.

Justice J H M Traverso postponed the case to March 10 next year, when a trial date will be set.

- Nonxuba and Mlambisa on Friday appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court in connection with a massacre at the King William's Town golf club in 1992. They were freed on bail of R10000 each in that case as well.

South African Press Association, 1996
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