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By Marizka Coetzer


Anti-vaxx lawyer, wife in court over conspiracy to murder

Schalk van der Merwe and his wife, Leonie, were released on bail earlier this month.

Lawyer Schalk van der Merwe, known for his anti-vaccine stance, and his wife Leonie, appeared in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to commit murder after being released on bail earlier this month.

Van der Merwe and his wife were arrested on 23 February, after he allegedly contacted the owner of Justice League Africa, Dean van Coller, over a supposed “hit” on Hannes Lottering’s life.

The case was postponed to 9 May, for further investigation.

Van der Merwe said he and his wife were relieved his bail was extended.

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“We were threatened this week that a witness would apply for my bail to be revoked because they claim I have been interfering with the state’s investigation,” he said.

“This is an untruth. We have been bombarded by intimidation and threats and slander purporting to be on the other side.”

Van der Merwe said if the state was not ready by the next court date, he has instructed his legal representation to request that the case be scrapped from the roll.

Outside the courtroom, things turned heated when Van der Merwe and his opponents passed each other in the hallway.

A police officer had to jump in to stop the commotion about to erupt between the parties. Van der Merwe was booed and taunted as he made his way out of the court.

Lottering said his trouble started when he contacted Van der Merwe in 2019, supposedly to ask him to back off from a woman he was allegedly harassing.

He said things quickly got ugly when Van der Merwe threatened him. “I approached him nicely and the next moment he wanted to moer me,” he said.

Lottering said he opened a case against Van der Merwe after he heard about an alleged attempt to hire a hitman to kill him the first time.

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Van der Merwe was arrested after he allegedly contacted Van Coller about the supposed “hit”, who instead reported him to the police.

Van Coller claimed it’s a known fact he was contacted by Van der Merwe.

“I met them three times in my life. The first time when I did a pitch for them for my documentary,” he said.

Van Coller said the second time he saw the Van der Merwes was when they visited him in Sodwana and asked him if he was willing to do “certain things”.

“The third time I saw them was when they got arrested,” he said.

Van Coller claimed they investigated Van der Merwe for more than six weeks before handing the evidence to the police.

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