GIRL ASSAULT: FARMERS DENIED BAIL
Refusal partly motivated by public outcry, says magistrate
THE two men who allegedly assaulted a girl, now aged 10, were denied bail – partly on the basis of a public outcry – when they made their second appearance in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Earlier, the mother of the girl, who was allegedly assaulted by two white farmers in Zithobeni last weekend, took the stand.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, said her daughter told her “mama, those white men fired shots at me; they shot at me” on the day of the alleged attack.
She was aged nine at the time, but celebrated her birthday midweek.
Johannes Potgieter and Heinrich Dumas have been charged with assault, kidnapping, attempted murder and the pointing of firearm at the child.
The alleged incident happened on Potgieter’s farm, Schierpoort.
Ivestigation officer Peter Machebe said a doctor examined the child and found scratch marks on her right abdomen, left arm and middle arm, a cut on her index finger on left arm, and multiple scratches on her knee and legs.
The pair are accused of firing shots in the direction of four minors, two of whom were siblings.
After three of the children – boys – escaped, the girl remained behind and was allegedly handcuffed to a tree and slapped with open hands multiple times.
Before she was allowed to leave and told to run fast, the accused allegedly pointed a gun to her head and told to never to return to the farm and that she would be killed if she did.
She said in her statement to police that she ran for her life, as shots were fired in her direction.
Her mother said the child was shaky.
“She was so traumatised, she had urinated on herself.
“She was shaky and she was scared,” the mother testified. “On Tuesday, her school principal called me and said she was emotional and crying at school.”
Her children were beyond traumatised, the mother said. They did not sleep in their room but with her the entire week.
“My son doesn’t sleep at night; he has nightmares of being shot at, but he can’t move or run away,” she said.
Last Sunday, the mother and her children accompanied police to the farm to arrest the two men.
Even then, the girl was afraid and said she did not feel safe.
“When we entered the farm she was shaky; she held on to my arm. Those men were loud when they interacted with police.
“However, the police remained calm,” the mother told the court.
She said the girl calmed down once she saw her brother and father entering the farm.
She had called them for support.
“She felt safe once she saw them and she kind of felt protected.”
The mother said Dumas admitted to police that he handcuffed the girl to the tree.
That he did as he had a spine operation and was afraid she might run away.
This was contrary to what Potgieter testified. He said he only took her to the tree by the house to question her and afterwards let her go.
Denying them bail, the magistrate citied the public outcry, adding that the two had a right to bail, but by taking the stand they complicated the matter, “because they introduced merits of the trial”. Outside, the father of the victim thanked the public and various organisations.
“To the whole community, I thank you for the support you gave to my family.”
Members of the EFF, Sanco, ANC, DA and Cosatu were inside and outside court supporting the family.
Cosatu’s Nkitseng Mokoena said: “We are witnessing yet again the defiance of the small minority. There are still white people who are testing the call for unity.” The accused will be back in court on November 14.
Johannes Potgieter and Heinrich Dumas, who allegedly assault a girl last weekend, were denied bail in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court.