The National Prosecuting Authorities (NPA) in the Free State says it will oppose the bail application by Andre Pienaar 51, in the Bloemfontein High Court on Thursday.

Pienaar is facing several charges including attempted murder, malicious damage to property and public violence. He was arrested last week following a violent protest in Senekal magistrate’s court.

A group of protestors mainly farmers stormed the court building, overturned and set alight a police vehicle after two men accused of the murder of farm manager Brendin Horner appeared.

Free State businessman Andre Pienaar denied bail

Pienaar through his legal representative has approached the Bloemfontein high court after he was denied bail by the Senekal magistrates court on Tuesday.

Free State NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping, “We were made aware yesterday when our prosecutor was provided with documents relating to the intention of the accused in this case to appeal the decision of the Senekal magistrate’s court not to grant him bail…”

“Our intention as the NPA is to oppose that bail application because we still maintain that it would not be in the interest of justice for the accused to be released on bail,” says Shuping.

Meanwhile Police Minister Bheki Cele says officers are prepared for any eventuality on Friday at the Senekal Magistrate’s Court in the Free State where the two suspects in the killing of farm manager Brendin Horner are to appear.

Cele confirmed that one of the accused had been arrested 16 times and the other three times on various charges. On Tuesday, some members of the community of Senekal prayed for calm after the last court appearance where protesters demanded that the two suspects be handed over.

More arrests to be made following Senekal violence

Mixed reactions to violence

There has been a range of mixed reactions to the violence which broke out in Senekal following Horner’s murder.

Deputy CEO of Civil Rights Organisation AfriForum says although violence is regrettable and cannot be condoned, the community’s anger is understandable.

Police have been criticised for what was deemed ‘their perceived lack of action’ to quell the protests.

On the other hand, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) commended the police’s handling of the protests, after the crowd dispersed when police fired a warning shot.

Roets further expressed concern over the possibility of escalating protests should government not urgently address the issue of farm attacks.

The Senekal Safety Association says while violence cannot be condoned, government leaders should also refrain from chanting slogans that may incite racial hatred during protests.