Constant victims of crime like a ticking timebomb waiting to explode – criminologist

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

‘For years the government has closed their eyes to the crime that keeps on escalating and we are left with a runaway train. Besides that, the cases drag on for years.’

Both suspects arrested in connection with the chaotic protest at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court earlier this month were released on R15,000 bail yesterday.

Andre Pienaar’s defence attorney, Ilanie Oberholzer, confirmed that his appeal to the Bloemfontein High Court after he was denied bail was successful. SJ Fourie, who owns a towing service and claimed to be there to remove a burnt-out police vehicle, also faces charges of public violence, arson, malicious injury to property and attempted murder after he was arrested on Friday.

Pienaar was arrested on 7 October when a protest for farm murder victim Brendin Horner became violent outside the Senekal court where two suspects appeared in connection with his murder. He was charged with public violence, malicious damage to property and attempted murder. Pienaar spent 12 days behind bars.

“For now, Pienaar just wants to get home, rest and spend time with his family,” Oberholzer said. Oberholzer said Pienaar would again appear in court on 20 November and the matter was expected to be postponed again. “We will focus on it then.”

She added that “bipolar” was not brought up yesterday in his bail application. Last week, Pienaar told the court in his affidavit that he was bipolar and on chronic medication.

Forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit said being bipolar was much more common than people thought. “If the person receives the right medication, there should not be a reason to lose their head.”

Du Toit said she doubted it played a role at all in the case and that the focus should shift from the race angle to being a human rights issue.

“For years the government has closed their eyes to the crime that keeps on escalating and we are left with a runaway train. Besides that, the cases drag on for years.”

“People and victims get to a point where they say enough is enough. Because they are constant victims of crime, they are like a ticking timebomb waiting to explode.”

Unite Against Farm Murders and Attacks organiser Kallie Roux said they are delighted with Pienaar’s release.

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