The man appeared briefly at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, where the case was postponed to August 18 to allow him to apply for a legal aid representative.
He stands accused of malicious damage to property and attempted murder after Jenny van Tonder, a grandmother of four, sustained serious burns to her face and upper body from the alleged attack at her Kerk Street home on the morning of July 24.
The man allegedly poured petrol over Van Tonder’s car as she was leaving for work and set it alight before fleeing the scene.
The alleged attack occured after Van Tonder and housemate Milly Clark, 60, had asked the man to leave the property he had occupied for almost two years.
Clark said she had put him up in the garage on the property, given him clothes and food and paid him to do the garden every Tuesday.
She said he was asked to leave after allegedly swearing at Van Tonder and the pair’s domestic worker a few days before the attack.
She attributed his behaviour to a “tremendous drinking problem”.
“Still, he was mostly quiet and respectful. I never felt like we were ever in danger. He just snapped. I asked him the night he was arrested (July 25) why he did it. He said the devil made him do it,” Clark said outside court yesterday.
Van Tonder’s son, Peter, said she was recovering well at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital’s burn unit, showing photos of remarkable improvement to her physical condition.
“The psychological scars is a different story,” he said.
The family opposed bail due to alleged threats the man had made against Clark that he would return “to kill you all”.
“We just ask anybody with information who haven’t come forward yet to do so, to solidify the case against bail,” Peter said.