VIDEOS: Teargas fired as bail hearing for Bronkhorstspruit farmers turns ugly

Johannes Potgieter (left) and co-accused Hendrick Dumas (right) appear before the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, 14 November 2017, for the bail hearing.

Members of the Bronkhorstspruit community were angry over the bail release of two farmers accused of assaulting and shooting at a 10-year-old girl.

When their anger boiled over during a protest outside the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court, police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd leaving some people injured.

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At the time of going to print it was not clear how many people were injured.

The community was angry that Johannes Potgieter (33) and Hendrick Dumas (48) had been granted bail by the High Court in spite of the lower court denying them freedom in September after the court ruled that it would not be in the interests of public peace to release them.

They appeared in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, and firing of a firearm.

They are accused of tying the 10-year-old girl to a tree and beating her.

When questioned by the angry crowd how the accused got bail, Magistrate Jacob Tsatsi said they appealed to the High Court and succeeded.

“It is out of my control. If the national prosecuting authority would like to appeal the decision made by the High Court, they may,” Tsatsi said.

Despite court rules, more people questioned the magistrate and requested that the accused be locked behind bars.

Tshwane’s ANCYL chairperson Lesego Makhubela said the High Court ignored important facts such as the accused being a flight risk.

“We know that they are now trying to sell (their property). They will run. We do not want them to spend the festive season outside,” he said.

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He said the matter was racially motivated.

“Racism and hatred have no place in our country and we will fight it whatever it takes.”

The girl’s family said they were not informed of the decision to grant the accused bail and were very unhappy about this.

“We were not told about this. Our child still has not recovered and whenever she sees a white man, she shivers. If there is a way of overturning this decision, we want it done,” said the father.

EFF sub-region convener Ganadhla Mabona said the release of the accused would pose a threat to key witnesses.

“During the initial bail hearing, we were told there were key witnesses whose statements were not taken and some of these witnesses work for the farmers. They might intimidate them,” he said.

The girl’s mother said her daughter was not coping and her school marks had dropped.

“We will have to see how she performs in her final exams, but her marks have dropped. It isn’t her usual performance.

Protesters who were picketing outside the court grew angry and demanded that the accused come out “to face the music”.

“We will even go to their farm if that’s what it takes,” one protester said.

NPA chief prosecutor in Tshwane said further discussions would be held by the different political leaders and the family to try and resolve the bail matter.

The case was postponed to 13 March 2017 pending further investigations.

ALSO READ: Pienaar’s court case postponed until June

Protesters outside the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court call for justice after two farmers accused of assaulting a 10-year-old were granted bail.

Members of the ANC.

Johannes Potgieter (left) and co-accused Hendrick Dumas (right) appear before the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 14 November 2017, for the bail hearing.

Members of the EFF.

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Noxolo Sibiya

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