The nine men arrested in connection with violent attacks on motorists on the Mabopane Highway (R80) will have to spend three more weeks in jail before they can apply for bail.

The eight foreign nationals and one South African endured yet another disappointing day at the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court after discovering that the prosecutor familiar with their cases was not available in court.

The suspects have already spent weeks in police custody while the National Prosecuting Authority was investigating their immigration status with the Department of Home Affairs to establish if they are in the country legally.

The state and the defence agreed that the suspects will wait to lodge formal bail bids which will be opposed by prosecutor advocate Zachariah Mahlatjie on Tuesday, November 24.

Despite delays in court, Pretoria North residents have celebrated the arrest of Ferrai Mhlanga, Emmanuel Muperi, Eddington Mabika, Johannes Kekae, Anymore Gumbi, Lucious Mbiza, Cosmos Chikayatadza and Norest Sigaule and Rodwin Maphinde

They were arrested in connection with alleged murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with grievous bodily harm and armed robbery on motorists that stopped on the R80 highway.

However, a source in court said the police could not connect two of the suspects with the serious crimes but due to the embarrassment of just letting them go, they decided to charge them with illegal immigration for contravening the immigration act.

The state confirmed that Anymore Gumbi and Lucious Mbiza will plead with regard to their immidgration status and possibly be deported or fined, but their co-accused Cosmos Chikayatadza may be only facing the serious charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder.

A Pretoria North community patrol forum member who asked not to be named as he’s been following the case closely and working with the community to patrol the mountains and the areas along the R80 said the suspects did not deserve bail.

He said “They are accused of very serious crimes and such people could be a danger to society if released. The government has already established that they are in the country illegally, they may just flee the country if released on bail.

“We want the state to deny them bail because the stories of how these guys hit motorists with stones on the head and dragged them into the bushes near Theo Martins Poort and robbed them are scary. We want nothing but a harsh sentence and we want them to be tried while they are in police custody before they hurt more innocent people.”