A police nyala, acting as a decoy to avoid angry protesters at the court where a man accused of raping and killing his niece appeared, has crashed.
A police nyala that was apparently being used as a decoy vehicle crashed into another car outside the Brakpan Magistrate's Court on Monday. Scores of people were waiting outside one of the court entrances to see the man accused of raping and murdering his four-year-old niece, Jasmin Lee Pretorius. But he was sneaked out of the premises through another entrance.
A police nyala, which was thought to have been following the car the man was in, crashed into another car at an intersection, leaving the front part of it damaged. Its driver, Solly Mnguni, was not injured. His wife, a passenger in the car, suffered a slightly hurt elbow.
"We were just passing and it came speeding out of the gate," said Mnguni's wife.
Protesters then rushed to the scene to see the accused.
"That's what they get for trying to hide this criminal from us," said one woman.
"Ja, they are just sneaky, now they must pay," said another.
Most of the demonstrators on the scene were wearing pink T-shirts. Pretorius was wearing a pink T-shirt the day she was killed.
The 23-year-old man accused of killing her wore the same black and grey striped T-shirt on Monday that he wore to court last week. He once again avoided making eye-contact with people in the public gallery, looking down at his hands and fiddling with them during the proceedings. He has now been provided with a legal aid lawyer, Pieter van Niekerk, who indicated that his client had chosen to remain silent and not to apply for bail. He would undergo DNA tests. The man may not be named until he has pleaded. The case was postponed to March 13 for further investigation.
Among those at the hearing on Monday was Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana. Like many of the protesters, she wore a pink blouse over a pink skirt.
The girl was reported missing on Saturday, December 28. After questioning by the police, her uncle apparently confessed to the crime and showed police the girl's body underneath a bed in her father's flat. Her parents are divorced and the father reportedly left her in the man's care on the day.
Last Monday, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mxolisi Nxasana expressed confidence in the case against the man. "It's a watertight case and we are certain that we will make a conviction," he said.
Hundreds of people attended the girl's memorial service held in the city last week, demanding justice. The girl was cremated last week and her mother said she intended to scatter her daughter's ashes in the ocean. – Sapa