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If he is released on bail, Groenewald will flee – prosecutor

Father, son apply for bail after 'setting their dog on employee

Jeanette Chabalala Senior Reporter
Piet Groenewald and his son Stephan appear at the Groblersdal Magistrate's Court.
Piet Groenewald and his son Stephan appear at the Groblersdal Magistrate's Court.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Granting bail to two men accused of assaulting their employee and setting their dog on him would undermine public order, the Groblersdal magistrates court heard on Monday.

Prosecutor Adv Faith Raselomane told the court that the community was outraged and that the state had to acquire the services of public order policing to maintain calm.

Piet Groenewald, 63, and his son Stephan Greef, 27, appeared in court on Monday, on charges of assault following the attack on their employee Veneruru Kavari, who had been with their company for only seven days.

Kavari was assaulted after being accused of being drunk on the job.

Raselomane said a witness was also intimidated by two men who were driving the security company vehicle.

She said Groenewald was once circulated as a wanted man after he fled the country while facing a murder charge in 1990. At some point the applicant was circulated as a wanted person. Applicant 1 (Greef) has a murder case that was provisionally withdrawn, pending the ballistic report. I humbly request this court to consider the degree of violence in all these matters and the matter that is before the court today, she said.

Raselomane said it took cops almost 12 years to re-arrest Groenewald. I am humbly requesting this court not to take the risk that the court did in 1990 by releasing the applicant (Groenewald). If he is released, he has the means to flee, Raselomane said.

She said Groenewald had no regard for the order of the court.

There is evidence he ran away from his murder trial. Should he be release on bail the applicant may evade trial again, she said.

SowetanLIVE previously reported that Groenewald previously skipped the country for 10 years while out on bail for the murder of two men.

It has been established from court records of Groenewald’s 1990 murder case that he fled the country after he was accused of the execution-style murders of Simon Koba, 28, and Prince Makena, 30, and injuring Xavier Lekgoate in a road rage incident.

He was convicted in 2002, more than a decade after he had been on the run and living in Portugal after his escape from the country. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail by the Pretoria regional court for the double murders and attempted murder.

Adv Johan van Wyk, for the accused, said his clients were not a flight risk.

He said there is no proof that a witness in the case was receiving threats or that his clients were getting any threats. These sort of gatherings outside court [protests] happen all the time.

He said Groenewald told the court that he had previous convictions, adding there was no evidence before court that the accused was absconding, and the court cannot make an inference that he absconded.

He said Groenewald should be regarded as someone who was never convicted because he received amnesty.

Van Wyk also questioned why the media was interested in the matter and why two cabinet ministers – Ronald Lamola and Bheki Cele – attended the case. This case was blown out of proportion. This case is a labour issue, [a] misunderstanding between employer and employee.

There was a high police visibility outside court. Scores of ANC and EFF supporters sang and danced outside the premises. Some held placards that read: Stop racism now.

chabalalaj@sowetan.co.za


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