Andre Pienaar appears in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court.
PHOTO: Alex Mitchley/News24
- Andre Pienaar was arrested and charged with
attempted murder, public violence and incitement to violence.
- A previous charge of terrorism was withdrawn after
the National Director of Public Prosecutions did not authorise the charge.
- Pienaar is not a farmer as previously reported, but
the owner of a construction business in Senekal.
The 51-year-old man who was arrested following
unrest at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court has been denied bail.
Andre Pienaar, who appeared in the Senekal
Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, has been charged with attempted murder, public
violence and incitement to violence.
A previous charge of terrorism has been withdrawn
after the National Director of Public Prosecutions did not authorise the
Pienaar – who is not a farmer, but rather the owner
of a construction business in Senekal – previously said he would be pleading
not guilty to all charges.
Handing down judgment, Magistrate Buti Mlangeni had
stern words for the accused, finding that Pienaar had not made a sufficient
case to be released on bail.
Mlangeni said there was a clear attempt by Pienaar
to jeopardise the criminal case and investigation.
He said that, during Pienaar’s short time in
custody, he was able to identify witnesses who could exonerate him.
“This was a deliberate attempt to jeopardise a
criminal investigation,” Mlangeni said.
The magistrate found that, if released, Pienaar may
interfere with witnesses.
Mlangeni added that the seriousness of the crimes
that Pienaar is accused of justified the limitation of his liberties.
This included the alleged assault on a female
police officer, which the court said was related to issues of gender-based
violence in the country.
The court found that there was a strong likelihood
that Pienaar would disturb law and order if released on bail and that it would
cause a public outcry.
Pienaar’s wife started crying after the magistrate delivered
the verdict and claimed people were laughing at her.
He has shown no regard for law and order.
During the bail application, the State argued that
Pienaar had attended a gathering of farmers ahead of the court appearance of
the two men accused of murdering 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner.
There, he is accused of inciting the crowd to go
and fetch the Horner accused from the court’s holding cells.
Chaos subsequently erupted as a small group of people
stormed the court building. A police vehicle was overturned and allegedly set
alight during the fracas.
The attempted murder charge emanates from
allegations that the accused tried to set the holding cells alight and fired the
two gunshots that were discharged in the court.
However, the investigating officer in the matter
testified in the bail application that he did not know who fired the shots.
It was further placed on court record that Pienaar
had assaulted the two accused in the Horner matter with a flat iron bar that he
had used to gain entry into the cells.
The State said the two accused in the Horner matter
were injured and subsequently taken to hospital for treatment.
However, according to the defence, they have two
witnesses who were also in the holding cells who would testify that Pienaar was
not part of the action.
The defence further argued that there was no
evidence connecting Pienaar to some of the acts that unfolded at the court last
The State retorted that the doctrine of common
purpose would be used to connect the accused to the alleged crimes.
It was further placed on record that there are a
number of witness statements that implicate Pienaar.
The matter has been postponed to 20 November.
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