Police Management in the province hereby condemn in the strongest possible terms violence that erupted at the Belfast Magistrate’s Court, N4 national road and Machadodorp on 14 September 2018. The condemnation comes after members of the community went on the rampage partly destroying palisades of the court, throwing stones at the police and damaging two vehicles in the process.
They further rendered the court inaccessible forcing police to disperse them by using rubber bullets. After having dispersed they got into busses and taxis, proceeded to the N4 and barricaded the road by burning a truck.
The violence started after two suspects alleged to have assaulted a man on Monday, 10 September 2018 were granted bail for a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. This charge stems from an incident captured on video which has gone viral on social media.
It all started after the two men who are from a local security company allegedly assaulted a community member on the day after he had a fight with another man employed by a local businessman who then alerted the security company. Ever since then, there has been a lot of violence in the area even though the two suspects were arrested immediately after the incident.
The suspects, 29 year old Bruce Botha and 20 year old Wayne Swart appeared in court on Tuesday 11 September 2018, and were remanded in custody up until 14 September 2018 when they were granted bail.
Among the chaos and destruction that erupted from then until 14 September 2018 is the following: the businessman’s shop looted and set alight, Provincial Traffic Offices set alight and uniform stolen, three trucks also set alight, court palisades partly destroyed, two police vehicles stoned and blockading of the road including the N4 national road as well as the driveway of the local police station.
Police Management once again urge members of the community to stop using violence when they have a dissatisfaction of any nature or to settle scores.
We understand that the community is angry that the suspects have been granted bail. However, the fact that a suspect has been granted bail does not mean that there is no more a case nor implies that the suspect is not guilty. The granting of bail is in terms of provisions of the law and the Bill of Rights that a person may be granted bail provided they meet a certain criteria.
Police will continue their investigation on the matter and ensure that they present a watertight case in court. Botha and Swart were granted a R500 bail each and warned to be back at court on 28 September 2018. Meanwhile six people have been arrested in connection with the public violence taking place around the area, they will appear in court soon.
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