Scores of residents stood in solidarity outside the Amanzimtoti Magistrate’s Court this morning calling for bail to be denied in the Werner de Jager case which continued today.
De Jager (45) was arrested on November 23, 2023, in Bloemfontein, for his wife’s – Reverend Liezel de Jager – murder and has been shuttled between Westville Prison and Amanzimtoti Magistrate’s Court as he tries to convince the court to release him on bail.
Scores of residents and representatives from various organisations, including Operation Bobbi Bear and Elders Voice KZN, were holding up placards and wearing ‘Deny bail, go to jail’ T-shirts to stand in solidarity and demand justice be served.
Eureka Olivier, the director of Operation Bobbi Bear, said gender-based violence is one of the main factors that ultimately leave children without a parent. “We are here in support of their children who now have to grow up without a mother because she was [allegedly] murdered at the hands of their father,” she said.
Under the Schedule 6 (premeditated) murder charge, the defence must provide compelling reasons why the accused should be granted bail.
The state has alleged that De Jager planned the death of his wife to benefit from life insurance policies totalling R3.29m.
My wife’s death was shocking – De Jager
As reported by South Coast Sun on February 1, De Jager denied that he took out life insurance policies without his wife’s knowledge, to benefit from after she died.
In an affidavit read by his attorney Advocate André May on January 15, he said that on the morning of October 13, 2021, he discovered his wife’s body on the driveway of their Amanzimtoti home, lying on her back.
“Her running shorts and underpants were lowered to just above her knees. Additionally, I observed that the property’s automatic gate was partially open. Upon discovering the deceased, I promptly contacted the security firm to notify them and to seek assistance, deeply shocked by the situation,” he said in the affidavit.
He also noticed, according to the affidavit, a wound to her throat, which led him to the immediate realisation that a horrific event had occurred, leaving him ‘extremely shocked’. After making a call to a security firm and the police, De Jager said he returned to his wife’s body and covered her private area with a top that was tied around her waist.
“My motivation for doing so was the presence of our children in the house as I did not want them to witness her in such a state, all the while grappling with the shock of the situation. After the arrival of the police, I underwent extensive questioning and co-operated fully with them from the outset, despite my state of extreme shock,” the affidavit said.
De Jager has made it known that he intends to enter a not-guilty plea as he vehemently denies any involvement in the death of his wife. The life insurance policies, the affidavit said, were mutually taken for the surviving spouse’s benefit. The police, however, allege that De Jager phoned the insurer the same day his wife died to make enquiries about lodging a claim.
He admitted that he has psychological problems but said these are under control as he takes his medication. The state contended that these mental issues have led De Jager to try killing himself 12 times. Because of that reason and others, the state said it opposes bail as he might take his life if released.
Even though he is unemployed and relies on family members, he has told the court that he can afford a R5 000 bail, but if required, he can secure additional funds from supportive networks.
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