Two men – André Pienaar and Stephanus Johannes Fourie – who were arrested for their alleged role in the protests at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court in the Free State are due in court on Monday.
OFM News reports that the two face charges of public violence and attempted murder, amongst others. They were arrested following scenes of violence in October 2020 where a police van was overturned and allegedly set alight. This took place when two men, accused of killing a young farm manager, Brendin Horner, at Paul Roux appeared in court. Pienaar was arrested first and Fourie was arrested later as the second suspect in the matter. They are both out on R15 000 bail.
Magistrate Buti Mlangeni had earlier denied Pienaar bail.
In his 30-minute ruling, Mlangeni characterised Pienaar as a possible threat to the ongoing investigations by the police. He said while in custody, Pienaar allegedly prepared people to give evidence that could exonerate him on the charges. He added while Pienaar and other protestors stormed the court holding cells on Tuesday 6 October, these actions could have led to the escape of detainees who were in lawful custody.
Meanwhile, the Free State High Court Judge Celeste Reinders in October 2020 set aside Mlangeni’s ruling and granted Pienaar bail. Reinders further dismissed the state’s allegations that Pienaar has attempted to influence witnesses as nothing more than concerns.