Groblersdal: Bail for protesting EFF members

Henry

Four members of the EFF in Groblersdal, Limpopo, who apparently intimidated police officers, have been released on bail.

These members, some of them students, protested at the police office in this rural town the week before last after a security guard, who was apparently assaulted by his employer, was arrested.

Tshepo Mokaba, Tumelo Mpati, Tebogo Motau and Joseph Mokgeri protested on Friday 19 January together with other supporters outside the police office for the release of Veneruru Kavari (30).

Kavari claims he was assaulted on Wednesday 17 January by Piet Groenewald and his stepson Stephan Greeff.

Groenewald is the owner of Wildlife Investigation & Protection Services (WIPS). According to the indictment, he and Greeff are accused of assaulting Kavari and then unleashing a dog on him.

Kavari as well as Groenewald and Greeff filed counter-complaints against each other.

This later led to the arrest of all three.

According to Ali Maloba, the EFF’s chairman for the Sekhukhune district in Limpopo, a group of EFF supporters marched to the police office to demand Groenewald’s arrest.

“The members simply wanted to get clarity from the station commander about why Piet Groenewald’s victim was arrested,” says Maloba.

Col. Donald Mdluli, police spokesperson in Mpumalanga, confirmed earlier that Groenewald had lodged a counter-complaint of damage to property against Kavari. However, this case was not placed on the court roll and Kavari was released.

During Groenewald and Greeff’s bail application, the investigating officer in the case testified that “members of the community went on a rampage” at the police station. According to him, there were people who fled the office and additional help had to be called to contain the situation.

The four students were subsequently arrested and charged with public violence.

They briefly appeared in court last Monday, despite the EFF’s attempt to intervene and asked that they be released on warning, says Maloba.

The case against the four was postponed until last Friday after which they were granted bail of R1 000 each. According to Maloba, the four members were already at home at the weekend.

He condemned the incident anew and accused the Groblersdal police of racism and prejudice.

“The police are quick to defend Piet Groenewald and arrest poor students; a clear indication that racial discrimination is rampant in Groblersdal. This proves once again that most of the senior police officers are in the pockets of the racist farmers,” Maloba argued.

Groenewald and Greeff are still in custody after their bail application began last Wednesday in the local magistrate’s court. Together with them in custody is Francois van der Merwe, a director of the Bittereinders movement, who was arrested outside the court during their bail application.

Van der Merwe is accused of obstructing a police officer or officers in the performance of their duties.