No bail for accused in Schalk Pienaar murder

Henry

Tsholofelo Joseph Motsoane, who is accused of the murder of the well-known Mokopane lawyer Schalk Pienaar, remains in custody.

Motsoane’s application for bail was refused in the Magistrate’s Court in Mokopane on Friday.

The court found that Motsoane is a career criminal who is likely to break the law again.

Magistrate JJ Venter found that Motsoane had failed to convince the court that exceptional circumstances justified his release on bail.

Among other things, Venter referred to Motsoane’s extensive criminal record and pointed out that since 2003 he has been found guilty in several cases and served sentences – including for attempted murder, robbery and theft.

Motsoane was also found guilty of escaping from custody while awaiting trial in two of these cases.

During his sentencing today, Venter praised Detective Captain Ross Rossouw for his thorough affidavit, saying it was one of the best affidavits against a bail application he had read in his career.

Motsoane was arrested in October 2022 in connection with the murder of Pienaar. The well-known lawyer from Mokopane was murdered on 19 September 2022 in his driveway shortly after he got home.

He was shot ten times. A second suspect was also arrested and charged, but the charge against him was later withdrawn.

AfriForum’s private prosecution unit represents the Pienaar family, who approached the unit for support due to delays in settling the case.

Pienaar’s wife, Fransie Pienaar, said after the bail ruling that she was relieved that Motsoane remained in custody.

“It is difficult to have to sit through these proceedings and relive that night when Schalk was killed. It is difficult to accept that the man, who was labeled by the court as a professional criminal, was not behind bars and could continue to commit crimes. Schalk believed in justice and in the criminal justice system.”

Barry Bateman, spokesperson for AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, welcomed the verdict.

“The magistrate duly took into account all the evidence of Motsoane’s criminal record. But more importantly, he found that the state had a fairly strong case. He referred to evidence that helped place Motsoane’s vehicle at the scene as well as his own admission. Although Motsoane says that his confession was made under duress, this did not convince the magistrate.”

The trial was scheduled for 22 to 26 July in the High Court in Polokwane.