Alleged farm assault victim, 9, living in fear, says father

Pretoria – The father of a 9-year-old girl, who was allegedly handcuffed to a tree, beaten and shot at by two farmers, is claiming that his daughter now lives in fear of white people.

The man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of his minor daughter, was speaking outside the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate's Court on Tuesday where Johannes Potgieter, 33, and Hendrick Dumas, 48, appeared on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and the unlawful pointing of a firearm.

The girl's father alleges that she shudders and shivers whenever she sees a white person and hides whenever she passes the farm where the alleged incident took place.

"If she just sees a white person, she shivers. Their farm is just on the road," the man said, adding that when in a taxi going past the farm the girl hides under the seat, even when he's with her.

"She is scared."

He said he was infuriated by what happened, adding that there was no doubt in his mind that it was a racially motivated crime.

"We are very angry because this is racist. It's really racist. Can you imagine if it was a child of a white person? Nine years old, tied to a tree and put a gun here (signalling to his head), and release shots next to her feet?" he said.

Anger over bail

Earlier on Tuesday, chaos erupted in court when it emerged that Potgieter and Dumas had last month been released on bail. Although the farmers were initially refused bail, they succeeded in an appeal to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on October 19.

Members of the community did not receive the news well and became enraged as they listened from the public gallery.

Magistrate Jacob Ntatsi explained that there was nothing he could do about the bail appeal.

"It's out of my hands. There is nothing I can do," he told them.

READ: Violence breaks out after farmers accused of assaulting 9-year-old granted bail

Displeased community members wanted the men to remain in custody. They said the men were selling their assets as they were planning to run away.

"We want these people to remain in custody. They are going to run away. They are going to Australia. They are selling their farm," one man claimed.

It is alleged that the 9-year-old and three other children had been jogging with their dogs on September 9. The dogs chased guinea fowl, which led them onto the farm.

This is when it is alleged that the children were accosted by the farmers, but that three managed to escape, leaving the 9-year-old behind.

The case has been postponed to March 13 for the completion of the investigation.

After court adjourned Potgieter and Dumas rushed away with their attorney Antonie Venter.

Mayhem broke out outside of court after chief prosecutor Advocate Matric Lupondo attempted to address the crowd which had gathered outside.

Bottles and rocks were thrown around, leading to clashes between police and the crowd.

Rubber bullets were fired and stun grenades used to disperse the crowd. Several people were also arrested.


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