Witnesses, who saw a suspected merchant buy petrol before allegedly setting a woman alight, have linked him to her murder.
This was revealed at the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court yesterday where Eldridge du Plessis made his first appearance.
Dressed in a black hooded jacket, a nervous-looking Du Plessis, who is in his 40s, stepped into the dock before Magistrate Goolam Bawa.
Prosecutors are set to prove that on Tuesday, Du Plessis allegedly set Mishkaah Fakier, 44, alight by dousing her with petrol in Hangberg, Hout Bay, after beating her.
The mother of four died of her injuries in hospital that evening.
It is believed Du Plessis accused her of stealing drugs from him.
The value and type of drugs have not been revealed.
On Tuesday afternoon, doctors advised the family to switch off her life support because there was nothing more they could do.
Moments before she passed away, Mishkaah sat upright in her hospital bed and uttered her last words, “It wasn’t me”, her family said.
Mishkaah’s family admitted to the Daily Voice that she was a drug user and led a risky lifestyle.
The courtroom was packed with family and residents from Hout Bay, who also gathered in front of the courthouse, calling for bail to be denied.
Inside court, Bawa asked how Du Plessis was linked to the crime and heard witnesses had seen him purchase petrol before the murder.
The matter was postponed for a formal bail application on 13 February when Du Plessis will be represented by his private lawyer, Neil Slabber.
Outside court, Mishkaah’s friend Zaida Arendse said they were angry that they were accused of wanting to burn Du Plessis alive before he handed himself over to police on Tuesday.
“I told [Du Plessis’] brother if we come in violence, then we are just as guilty,” she said.
“We were peaceful and watched him get into the car.”
Community activist Roscoe Jacobs handed over a memorandum with hundreds of signatures calling for bail to be denied to the court.
He said: “We are here to ensure that perpetrators of this brutal act do not get bail.
“We want to ensure that justice takes place because we had cases in 2017, that of murder where nothing happened,” he said.
“We have a petition of 500 signatures.
“It is alleged in this case that it is drug-related, but I think there is no excuse to want to take someone’s life.”