The family of six-year-old Amy’Leigh De Jager has welcomed the Vanderbijlpark Magistrates’ Court’s ruling in the bail application of the three people accused of kidnapping her, saying the little girl will at least be relieved.
“I expected the judgment [but I] didn’t expect such a comprehensive [one]. I think the magistrate touched on all aspects of the law, including the Constitution. I am impressed. It shows that justice still prevails in the country,” De Jager’s grandfather, Christo De Jager, said.
He was speaking outside court on Friday after two of his granddaughter’s alleged kidnappers were denied bail. A third accused was granted bail.
Little de Jager was snatched from her mother, Angeline, outside Laerskool Kollegepark in Vanderbijlpark on September 2.
Suspended Laerskool Kollegepark Grade RR teacher, Tharina Human, 27, and Pieter Van Zyl were denied bail and are in custody. Laetitia Nel was granted bail of R25,000 while Bafokeng Molemohi, a fourth accused who was arrested later, abandoned his bail application.
Magistrate Hussain Khota delivered the judgment to a gallery of relatives and friends of the De Jagers as well as those of the accused.
Khota said the crimes the accused faced were serious and that kidnapping was a parent’s worst nightmare. He found that the State had proved that it was not in the interests of justice that Human and Van Zyl be granted bail.
It is believed that Human, the alleged mastermind behind the kidnapping, uses drugs and owes money to “drug lords”. This allegedly led her to plot the kidnapping, investigating officer Constable Clayton Motloung previously informed the court. He said Human, if released on bail, was at risk of being harmed by the drug lords.
Khota said it seemed the crime was premeditated, especially by Human, which would make her a flight risk because she could possibly even fake her own kidnapping while out on bail. He added that Van Zyl was also a flight risk and could jeopardise the case because one of the witnesses was known to him.
Nel confessed to her involvement in the crime. Khota said it was unfortunate that she became involved. He said the court did not believe she was a flight risk.
“The court is satisfied that the fears of investigating officer that the third applicant (Van Zyl) would flee is justified based on the evidence presented.
“In consideration of the totality of the evidence, this court rules that the State has, on the balance of probabilities, succeeded,” Khota found.
De Jager’s parents, Angeline and Wynand, appeared relieved as they hugged prosecutor Luanda Ngcobo.
However, Human and Nel cried in the dock. Human’s father, Riaan Botha, refused to comment and walked out of court after the verdict.
The matter returns to court on November 13 when a date for the trial in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg is expected to be obtained.