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Police speak on appearance of mass-shooting suspect who faces 18 counts of murder

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Police Minister Bheki Cele has said ’life will be better for Capetonians’ now that a wanted suspect, Yanga ’Bara’ Nyalara is off the streets, following his arrest on the weekend.

Police Minister Bheki Cele arrives at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court after the arrest of Yanga Nyalara, 30, who has been charged with 31 counts, including 18 counts of murder. Picture: Rafieka Williams

CAPE TOWN – Police Minister Bheki Cele has said “life will be better for Capetonians” now that a wanted suspect, Yanga “Bara” Nyalara, is off the streets, following his arrest on the weekend.

Nyalara appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where he chose to abandon his bail application after he was charged with 31 counts under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca).

The State has alleged that Nyalara was involved in a pattern of criminal gang activity, including the killing of 18 people since May, 2021 in Khayelitsha.

It is alleged that Nyalara was responsible for the mass shooting in Khayelitsha on May 8, where six men were killed in Site C.

The State further alleged that he was responsible for the killing of nine people in another mass shooting in Khayelitsha Site B on May 15, 2021.

Cele had been present during the proceedings and said outside the court that Nyalara owned eight taxis and was educated as a teacher.

“We believe the arrest of Bara will solve many other cases going forward. Police expect to make more arrests around him. He might be the mastermind, but definitely there are people he has been working with… We know he was not working alone,” Cele said.

Nyalara was arrested in Bothasig on the weekend and found in the company of two women and drugs with an estimated street value of R90,000.

Yanga “Bara” Nyalara has been charged with 31 counts under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. Picture: Supplied

Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, who was also at court, said: “It’s actually unfortunate that he abandoned his bail bid, because we would have wanted to oppose his release. He has the right to apply (for bail) at any time, and he chose not to.”

In recent months, Khayelitsha has been ravaged by mass killings which Patekile indicated could be linked to extortion syndicates operating in the area.

Earlier reports said Nyalara was hailed as a “Robin Hood” figure by parts of the Khayelitsha Site C community, after they marched to the police station singing his praises for protecting the community.

CPF provincial chairperson Francina Lucas said, however, they welcomed his arrest. “We welcome his arrest, because anyone who is accused of a crime needs to go to court and prove his or her innocence. As the CPF, we believe justice must take it’s course.

“We are still faced with too many crimes and criminality. It is the beginning of a process to get justice for the community or the victims, and it sends out a message that crime will not be tolerated or go unpunished in our community,” Lucas said.

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