Father, stepson of Groblersdal in custody over alleged ‘assault’

Henry

A “Second Senekal”.

This is what pressure groups and residents of Groblersdal in Limpopo fear when a father and his stepson, who are accused of assaulting a worker, appear in court again this week.

Piet Groenewald (63), owner of Wildlife Investigation & Protection Services (WIPS), and his stepson, Stefan Greeff (27), briefly appeared in the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court on Friday. Both face charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Jacques Lessing, a local lawyer who represented the two on Friday, confirmed that the charge had since been changed to attempted murder.

According to a police statement, the two are accused of assaulting a WIPS security guard.

Col. Malesela Ledwaba, provincial police spokesperson, could not confirm whether additional charges had been laid against the father and son.

According to Ledwaba, a 30-year-old employee of Groenewald filed a complaint of assault with intent to seriously injure at the Groblersdal police station on Wednesday.

The man argued that he was hit by Groenewald and Greeff with a heavy object. He claimed that the father and son incited a dog to attack him.

The incident was allegedly preceded by an altercation at Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga. According to Ledwaba, the guard was on duty there at a mobile phone tower.

Greeff, the supervisor, arrived there and apparently accused the victim of being drunk. After this, he allegedly took the guard back to WIPS’ office on Groblersdal, where an exchange of words ensued between the guard, Greeff and Groenewald.

“Upon their arrival, the two got into an argument which led to the driver (Groenewald) hitting the victim with a hard object,” says Ledwaba in a statement.

“The driver allegedly instructed a family member to release their pet dog on the victim. The dog bit the victim on both legs.”

Greeff and Groenewald were arrested the day after and brought before the court on Friday. It was ordered that they remain in custody until they can submit a bail application on Wednesday.

A small group of EFF members also showed up at the court in solidarity with the victim, whose name has not been disclosed.

In a statement, Ali Maloba, the EFF’s chairman in the Sekhukhune region in Limpopo, condemned the incident. “It has become an acceptable habit of these security companies to treat their workers badly. The police on Groblersdal are aware of it and are blind to it,” says Maloba.

Willem Petzer, an activist against farm murders, in turn claimed that the EFF was leading the authorities on Groblersdal by the nose.

He appealed to his supporters to show up at the court in large numbers on Wednesday in support of Groenewald and Greeff.

“Good morning, loved ones, this coming Wednesday the 24th’s march to Groblersdal will most likely be a Senekal for our people. We got information that the EFF is organizing to have a big march there, so it is very important for us that we get more farmers there so that they (EFF) are no more than us and can once again impose their will on the court. ” said Petzer.

He then undertakes to appoint a lawyer for the Groenewalds.

Elmarie Groenewald, Piet’s wife, also makes a plea to residents to attend the case.

According to her, “the whole truth” is not known. “The guard had only been employed with us for a week… we were called after an incident where he smashed his radio… it was clear he was drunk and immediately started fighting.”

Her feeling was that the guard was “planted” at WIPS. Apparently the guard also has a live feed-video made during Wednesday’s exchange with her husband.

Another resident of Groblersdal, Dries Olivier, also said in an online video that Groblersdal residents “had to see once again how right succumbs to injustice”. He then also appeals to residents to turn up at the court in their masses on Wednesday.

  • This is the second case in weeks in which residents of Groblersdal are asked to protest at the court. RNews previously reported on another father and son from Roossenekal who were arrested after they apparently shot trespassers on their farm.

Farmers from Roossenekal and Groblersdal said at the time that they had been suffering from thieves stealing fruit and vegetables for years. Several farm attacks have also been reported in the region.