Johannesburg - An armoured police van – which may have been transporting the alleged murderer of four-year-old Jasmin Lee Pretorius – collided head-on with a car outside the court on Monday.
The accident happened about 30 minutes after the accused was told he would stay behind bars for at least another two months as his case was postponed in the Brakpan Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning.
Jasmin was discovered on December 29 under a bed in her family’s Brakpan flat. She had been raped and murdered, allegedly by her 23-year-old uncle who cannot be named until he pleads.
There was chaos outside the court after the collision between a police Nyala and a white Opel.
“It hit me with high speed,” said the car’s driver, Solly Mnguni.
He said he wanted to turn right on to Prince George Avenue – the main road outside the court – when the Nyala came from the opposite side of the road towards him.
His car’s bonnet was still stuck to the Nyala’s bullbar as police tried to clear the road for traffic.
Police at the scene refused to confirm whether the alleged murderer was being transported in that particular Nyala.
But one witness said she believed it was the accused.
“After the crash, the police grabbed him and threw him in the other van,” said Bernadine Barratt.
“Then they left quick-quick,” she said.
Meanwhile, the accused’s Legal Aid SA lawyer, Pieter van Niekerk, has said his client would also undergo DNA testing in connection with his alleged crimes.
He also said the man had chosen to remain silent until his next court appearance.
It was not yet known if he would apply for bail.
Outside court, the crowd of protesters was visibly smaller than for the last two court appearances, but the police presence remained high.
At the accused’s first appearance, crowds gathered around the armoured police Nyala believed to be carrying the man, baying for his blood.
The founder of the South African chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, Koos van Vuuren, said outside of court that they were disappointed with the delay.
“It’s quite bad that it’s postponed for such a long time,” he said, and vowed the organisation would be at every court appearance.
Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana thanked the police and the prosecutors “for keeping the accused under arrest”.
“We believe our children will never be safe if such perpetrators are allowed to walk the streets of South Africa,” she said.