The man accused of killing 20-year-old Siam Lee has been granted his wish to be transferred to the Westville prison’s holding cells, about 20km away from Durban

During his last appearance, Cebolenkosi Philani Gift Ntuli, 29, told the court that he was being tortured by police at the Durban North police station’s holding cells where he was kept shortly after his arrest on 17 January.

Ntuli, who is facing 16 charges including murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances, made a brief appearance at the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

He allegedly kidnapped Lee on 4 January outside a house on Margaret Mayton Avenue, Durban North, and threatened to shoot her, according to the charge sheet.

Lee’s burnt body was discovered by a farmer in New Hanover two days later.

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During his brief appearance on Tuesday, Ntuli was reprimanded by Magistrate Mohammed Motala for being in contempt of court during his last appearance. Ntuli apparently walked out of the dock on 9 February before Motala had exited the room first, which is standard court protocol.

Date set for bail hearing

“That was contempt of court,” he told Ntuli.

He then adjourned Ntuli’s case until 7 or 8 March for a formal bail hearing.

Lee’s family and the DA Women’s Network (DAWN) were not present in court on Tuesday.

DAWN has filled up the court’s public gallery since Ntuli’s first appearance in court this year, with some members usually picketing outside court, calling for him not to get bail.

His legal representative, Brad Osborne, was also not present in court.

Last Friday, Osborne told the court that his client had requested to be transferred to the holding cells at the New Prison in Pietermaritzburg.

‘I’ve suffered enough at Durban North’

“If there are any concerns, they’ve got to be addressed with the correctional services management,” Motala had replied.

Ntuli has previously alleged that he was being tortured by police at the Durban North police station’s holding cells.

“I’ve been sleeping on a mat and I’ve been tortured [suffocated] with a plastic bag. I’ve suffered enough at Durban North.

“I want to at least go to Westville where I could get a better sleep,” he said.

Ntuli, who always appears calm and relaxed in court, raised his left thumb towards his family as he made his way back down the steps to the court’s holding cells on Tuesday.