Public Order Police were called to the Durban Regional Court when two rival drug gangs from Wentworth clashed.
Court orderlies had to duck for cover as two groups of men, from different streets in the south Durban community of Wentworth, got into a heated argument in the hallway outside Y-Court on Thursday.
Chad Marais, Mthandeni Khoza and Tyrelle Martin were appearing in W-Court for conspiracy to commit murder. On the same floor in Z-court, alleged Hollywood gang boss Dane Majority and Randel Ackerman were appearing on murder charges. Both cases were later heard and postponed until June.
Defence attorney Clinton Short said the tension arose when W-court appearances were held in Y court, he added that it erupted into a verbal screaming match.
Short explained that “They had seen one another and noticed a certain gang member was out on bail. Threats were made verbally. Police moved the non-litigants and affiliates. It has been a habit for one of the gangs to come to court and attack the accused in other matters and complainants verbally”.
Police and security guards controlled the groups.
Short said three similar incidents occurred in the Durban Court recently and another in the Wentworth Magistrates court.
He said “In the Wentworth incident, they targeted the eyewitnesses. I call them voice note gangsters. They send voice notes talking about their activities and their intentions. At some stage, the two groups were on friendly terms. They had a fallout. Now, they fabricate stories about one another and implicate people, not involved, on crime scenes to create smoke screens”.
Durban Metro police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad said police were called to the court for an apparent gang fight.
He said no injuries were reported and that one group was removed from the court building and they were warned not to return if they were not appearing in court.
Sewpersad said “They had no respect for the court. Police were swift to react and have advised the court to take more stricter security measures. This is the third clash between the groups that we have heard of inside the Durban court building”.
Department of Justice spokesperson Steve Mahlangu said no staff or anyone public were injured.
Mahlangu said “We will continue to arrange extra security for the duration of the case to ensure safety for everyone occupying the building. This will also include working with the SAPS Intervention Unit and Metro Police”.