Mother tells of girl’s nightmare ordeal
THE TWO men who allegedly assaulted a girl, now aged 10, were denied bail – partly on the basis of 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 during the week.
Johannes Potgieter and Heinrich Dumas have been charged with assault, kidnapping, attempted murder and pointing a firearm at the child.
The alleged incident occurred on Potgieter’s farm Schierpoort.
The investigating officer, Peter Machebe, said a doctor examined the child and found scratch marks on her abdomen and left arm, a cut on her index finger 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 the three boys escaped, the girl remained behind and was allegedly handcuffed to a tree and slapped multiple times.
Before she was allowed to leave and told to run fast, the accused allegedly pointed a gun to her head and told her to never 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 were 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 got to the farm she was shaky; she held on to my arm. Those men were loud when they interacted with the police.
“But 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 had handcuffed the girl to a tree. He did that because he had had a spinal operation and was afraid she might run away.
This was contrary to what Potgieter testified. He said he had taken the girl to the tree to question her, and afterwards let her go.
Denying them bail, the magistrate cited public outrage, adding that the two had a right to bail, but by taking the stand, they had complicated the matter as “they introduced the merits of the trial”.
Outside the court, the father of the victim thanked the public and various organisations for their backing.
“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 the 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.
Pair cuffed her to a tree, slapped and fired shots at her, court told
DENIED BAIL: Johannes Potgieter and Heinrich Dumas, who allegedly assaulted a girl last weekend, were refused bail yesterday.