Groblersdal: ‘Double standards and selective prosecution’ questioned


South Africa is a state governed by the rule of law and every citizen must be equal before the law, but there are “clear double standards and selective prosecution” taking place in Groblersdal after the events of the past weeks.

Piet Groenewald (63) and his stepson, Stephan Greeff (23), were refused bail in the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court on Monday. They are facing charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. According to this, Greeff and Groenewald assaulted a worker with a pickaxe and incited a security dog ​​to bite him, as well as allegedly injecting him with an unknown liquid.

In the same court, the activists Willem Petzer (27) and Tewie Wessels (32) together with Devon Hofmeyr (29), a director of the Bittereinders movement, appeared under police guard. Wessels, Hofmeyr and Petzer all three reported early on Monday morning with their bags at the police station where they were then arrested.

According to the preliminary indictment, they will face charges related to public violence and obstructing a police officer in the performance of his duties, among other things. The three were part of a demonstration outside the magistrate’s court in Groblersdal on 24 January when Groenewald and Greeff began their bail application. Their bail applications were heard in the late afternoon, but then adjourned until Thursday due to load shedding which kicked off at 3pm at the court. All three of them remain in custody until then.

The singer Steve Hofmeyr visited his son, Devon, in police custody on Tuesday.

“It’s the merciless plain where a father finds himself when his son is unjustly imprisoned. I can’t describe it to you. The hardest thing is not being able to show up. And there are three good reasons why I don’t show up, reasons that make sense to Steve Hofmeyr, but make no sense at all to a father. That’s why I went through in silence to visit my son.”

Hofmeyr expressed his thanks to Dr. Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, after he spoke on Tuesday in the debate about pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation speech criticized the events in Groblersdal.

“South Africa is a state governed by the rule of law and every citizen must be equal before the law. But with the court case in Groblersdal where two persons are accused of assault, the ministers of police, Bheki Cele, and justice, Ronald Lamola, will attend the bail application of the accused themselves. Don’t they have work to do? Why do they go there? They go there because they have a political motive and that motive is to intimidate the presiding officer. They were denied bail.”

Regarding Petzer, Wessels and Hofmeyr, Groenewald said that on two occasions he filed complaints against the EFF leader Julius Malema regarding his direct incitement to kill whites. “Why isn’t he also arrested? Let him also apply for bail. You are working under your leadership to create inequalities. These men went and surrendered themselves. They are entitled to bail.”

Following the events on Groblersdal in the past few weeks, the civil rights organization AfriForum said it rejects the actions of any organization or individual that sows chaos in the community.

However, AfriForum is at the same time strongly opposed to the clear double standards and selective prosecution that is currently taking place here. Political parties, such as the ANC and EFF, are attempting to opportunistically exploit and escalate the tense situation that prevails in Groblersdal in the run-up to the 2024 elections in order to extract cheap political mileage from it. There is an undeniable attempt to destabilize the community,” said Llewelynn Hemmens, AfriForum’s head of security for the Northern region.

However, according to Hemmens, it is worrying that only protesters in support of the accused are currently being prosecuted, while whippers and lawless on the ANC and EFF side seemingly escape prosecution.

“Those who break the law, incite violence and lawlessness and sow chaos in the community must be consistently prosecuted. Double standards are indefensible and only increase the tension further,” says Hemmens.