Three young men arrested in connection with the stolen firearms and explosives from the Simon’s Town Navel Base will remain in jail until their bail application next week.
Dilon Sewkumar, 19, Duncan Gouvias, 21, and Karabo Ramokgopa, 19, appeared in a packed Simon’s Town Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Sewkumar and Gouvias face charges of housebreaking with intention to steal automatic rifles and possession of prohibited firearms.
They were also charged under the Explosives Act when they were found in possession of 58 hand grenades and 16 cannon rounds.
Meanwhile Ramokgopa, who was nabbed on Friday in the navy barracks, was charged with possession of a stolen firearm.
State prosecutor Nico Breyl said the rifle was among those stolen from the SA Navy Armament Depot last weekend.
The stolen equipment included four 9mm Uzi machine guns, 72 high explosive grenades, one R1 rifle and one M1 rifle.
Sewkumar and Gouvias were arrested in Military Road, Steenberg on Thursday.
Yesterday Breyl said the three faced a schedule five offence and he would oppose bail.
He asked for a postponement, but there was an outcry from the defence lawyers, who said they were ready to proceed with bail.
André Johnson, for Gouvias, said there is “no credible” information before the court for why the state alleges this is a schedule five offence or why Gouvias should not be released on bail.
“Who are we trying to please by opposing bail for the accused?” he asked.
“None of the information has been placed before the court. The fact that the state alleges this is a schedule five offence does not prevent the accused from getting bail. What about his liberty?” Johnson asked.
Sewkumar’s lawyer also objected to the postponement and said he was ready to proceed with a bail application.
Ramokgopa’s lawyer, Asghar Mia, wanted to know on what grounds the State was opposing bail for his client.
“The accused is not involved in the housebreaking,” he said.
“My client has a fixed address, in fact he is a student at the Simon’s Town Academy where he is first year electrical engineering student,” he added.
Mia said “what counts in his client’s favour” was that after his arrest, he took police to where the firearm was found.
It’s believed all three accused have relatives working for the Navy.
Magistrate Crystal McKenna granted the postponement and asked that the three appear together.
The matter was postponed to August 8 for a formal bail application.