Racist farmers on trial in South Africa

These two racist South African farmers have been taken to a Pretoria Magistrate’s Court  in connection with an incident last year in which a nine-year-old girl was allegedly handcuffed to a tree, beaten and shot at.

The case is a reflection of the tensions in the farming communities- and the unending race issue in South Africa.

The farmers, Johannes Potgieter, 33, and Hendrick Dumas, 48, appeared in court on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and the unlawful pointing of a firearm.

They are out on bail. The case will now be heard in Pretoria Regional Court for security reasons and not the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court where it was previously heard.

Johannes Potgieter, 33, and Hendrick Dumas, 48, were charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and the unlawful pointing of a firearm. They were initially refused bail but successfully appealed against the decision in the North Gauteng High Court on October 19.

The application for the transfer of the case was made today by the State before the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court.

Magistrate David Shikwambana told the unidentified parents of the victim that the application for the transfer was due to the chaos that took place outside the court on November 14. At the time, police were forced to fire rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of people who protested and threw stones after they learnt that the accused were granted bail.

It is alleged that the girl and three other children had been jogging along with their dogs on September 9. The dogs chased guinea fowl, which led them onto the farm. This is when the children were allegedly accosted by the farmers.

Three escaped and left the 9-year-old behind.

The girl accused Schierpoort farm owner Johannes Potgieter and his employee Hendrick Dumas of assaulting her.

When the two appeared in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court last year for a bail application, members of the public demonstrated outside.

The girl suffered scratches on her left wrist, a cut on her index finger, scratches on both her knees and a scratch on her chin. Her mother reported that she was shaky and scared.

“While we were looking for our dogs, we saw white males. We then decided to hide in the trees, but the white males approached us. I ran; that’s when I fell and I saw one of the man carrying a big gun. He reached out and grabbed my arm,” the girl said in her statement.

“And then the man slapped me with an open hand I fell to the ground. He then ordered me to jump the fence to go to the tree near the house. He then slapped me again with an open hand,” she added.

The farmers were initially refused bail, but succeeded in an appeal to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.


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