Elvis Ramosebudi suspected for planning the assassinations of 19 South African politicians, prominent business people and employees of state-owned entities looks on at the Johannesburg Magistrate Court on April 28, 2017. Investigations by the Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations) revealed a coup plot by a group called the Anti-state Capture Death Squad Alliance (ASCDSA) whose hit list allegedly includes President Jacob Zuma. GULSHAN KHAN / AFP
A South African court Monday granted bail to a man charged with conspiracy to assassinate top politicians including President Jacob Zuma in an apparent bid to enforce a change of government.
Elvis Ramosebudi, 33, allegedly approached private companies to fund his plot before he was arrested on April 26.
Calls have mounted in recent months for Zuma — mired in corruption scandals — to step down, and on Friday three former presidents made an unprecedented joint call for dialogue to end the country’s political crisis.
A magistrate in Johannesburg granted Ramosebudi 3,000 rand bail ($222, 202 euros) and ordered him to report to the police three times a week. He was also told not to interfere with witnesses in the case.
Ramosebudi had described his 19 targets as beneficiaries of state corruption, including members of the controversial Gupta family, who are accused of having undue influence over Zuma’s government.
The killings were to be carried out by snipers.
State advocate Johan Badenhorst told the court that it was “concerning” that the man had driven from his home in Soshanguve township, outside the capital Pretoria, to Johannesburg to meet with possible funders.
“It is clear that he is very motivated in what he wants to do,” said Badenhorst.
Ramosebudi’s lawyer told the court that he intended to plead not guilty to the charge of incitement to commit murder when the case resumes.