The three suspected robbers who were arrested on July 24 after they allegedly raided a farm outside Ottosdal, North West, where Sarel and Hannetjie van Zyl live, were released barely two weeks later on a warning. The family and community are deeply upset about it and feel justice should be done.
According to Henry Mamothame, spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the North West, the three suspects, aged 19, 23 and 27 respectively, were released on a warning on August 4, after appearing in court for bail.
Mamothame says the investigating officer did not oppose the bail application. The state asked for bail to be paid, but the court then released them on warning. However, the suspects did not pay any bail at the time.
“According to the information in the police’s dossier, no one was assaulted and it was not a farm attack. The case has been postponed for further investigation, as the identity of the accused must be determined by means of an identification parade, ”said Mamothame.
It was previously reported that three men arrived at the farm around 09:00 that day while Sarel was still lying and sleeping. Sarel was sick in bed at that point. The men tied the gardener to the water tank and aimed a firearm at him. They then entered the house.
The three men entered the rooms of the house and searched the cupboards. One of them dropped something into one of the rooms, which woke Sarel up. When he opened his eyes, the men were standing by the room door. He grabbed his firearm, which was lying next to him on the bedside table, but first struggled to get the firearm out of the holster. The attackers just turned around in their tracks and fled the house.
Sarel jumped up and chased the men with the firearm. He fired outside shots into the air.
The suspects escaped but were apprehended just before 12:00 by members of the community, farmers and police.
Police have not yet found the suspects’ firearm.
A representative of the Ottosdal 911 emergency group, which helped apprehend the attackers, said farmers and members of the community who care about people’s safety met with Lichtenburg police on Tuesday to find out why the suspects were released. They will hold another meeting with the police next Monday to put in place plans to tighten up rural security.
The representative says the Ottosdal 911 emergency group is also doing everything in its power to ensure safety.
“We appeal to the people and farmers of the community to be prepared, attentive and alert. We ask them to issue an emergency call quickly if they feel any danger or notice any disturbance. ”
The 911 emergency group has also set up a data system so that farmers can notify the group as soon as possible of a possible attack.