Earl Coetzee
Premium News Editor
3 minute read
9 Oct 2020
10:39 am

Watch: Farmer who called for storming of Senekal court charged with terrorism

Earl Coetzee

André Pienaar, who was arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property, also faces charges of terrorism, incitement to violence, and attempted murder.

A fire is extinguished after protesting farmers overturned and set alight a police vehicle outside the Senekal Magistrate's Court in Free State on Tuesday. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Pienaar was arrested on Wednesday, following the chaos which ensued at the previous day’s court appearance of the suspects in the murder of 22-year old Rouxville farm manager, Brendin Horner, whose body was discovered tied to a pole, with several stab wounds and head injuries last weekend.

Pienaar lodged a bail application, with a heavy police presence outside the building from early on Friday morning. He was initially expected to face charges of malicious damage to property and public violence.

Netwerk24 reported that the state opposed Pienaar’s application, and added charges of attempted murder, as well as incitement to violence and terrorism to the docket on Friday afternoon.

The bail application is not expected to be completed by Friday afternoon, meaning Pienaar will most likely spend the weekend behind bars.

Read more: Pics and Video: Shots fired, as police and farmers clash outside farm murder court case

This follows Tuesday’s initially peaceful protest, which eventually led to a police vehicle being overturned and torched, and a few hundred irate farmers damaging court property. This due to their attempt to reach the suspects, Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa, after the case against them was postponed to next week Friday.

The attempted murder charges stem from Pienaar allegedly wanting to torch the holding cells, where the accused in Horner’s murder were being kept.

In video footage of the protest (above), taken by The Citizen photographer Tracy Lee Stark, Pienaar can be seen inciting the crowd before things escalated into violence, and calling for mob justice, arguing that the legal system would simply see the suspects set free.

Police trying to maintain the order outside the Senekal Magistrates Court. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

“A month from now, we’ll hear about this again,” Pienaar told the crowd as he stood on the back of a bakkie, addressing them over loudspeakers.

“Your own daughter could get raped. That man is so badly maimed, he’ll have to be cremated because his father doesn’t want to bury him,” he says, referring to Horner.

“Violence is rooted out by violence, and this is what people are asking for,” he then says to cheers from the crowd, before asking for support to help him remove the two men from the court’s holding cells. A woman’s voice can be heard loudly cheering him on.

Read more: Whites don’t play, says Malema as Popcru slams ‘unruly’ protesters outside Senekal court

In another video, he is seen standing in the crowd, saying that he might not have brains (pointing at his head), but he has strength, and urging those around him to join him.

AfriForum’s Ernst Roets, who was also at the protest was similarly critical of the legal system’s failings in dealing with farm murders, and seemed to suggest that government, including President Cyril Ramaphosa were not taking the issue seriously.

He, however, was more measured in his approach, urging farmers to support them in their quest to get the message about farm murders out to the world, while also calling for strength.

Shortly thereafter, it appears Pienaar, who farms outside the nearby town of Marquard, had found enough supporters to help him execute his attempt at mob justice.

A group of farmers stormed the building, breaking bars from windows, flipping over a police vehicle, and preventing another police vehicle from accessing the premises.

Gun shots were also fired, with police and the farmers each blaming the other for those.

One of the farmers who attacked The Citizen‘s reporter and photographer, damaging their equipment and assaulting one of the women. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Read more: Journos assaulted in Senekal court chaos as farmers go on rampage

During the fracas, The Citizen‘s reporter and photographer were also assaulted and had their equipment damaged.

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