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Victim’s family devastated as Piketberg cop accused of murder appears in court

MEMBERS of the Piketberg community protest outside the magistrate’s court.

MEMBERS of the Piketberg community protest outside the magistrate’s court.

Published Jan 5, 2022

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Cape Town - The case against a Piketberg police officer accused of shooting dead his girlfriend on Sunday was postponed to Friday for a formal bail hearing at the local magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

Richard Smit made his first appearance at the Piketberg Magistrate’s Court after he allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Natasha Booise in front of her 11-year-old son and family members.

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Family member Estelle van Wiese said the family was devastated, especially Natasha’s mother who she said had not uttered a word since the incident.

“We know we must stand by her as Natasha was her only daughter and we can only imagine how she will cope with the little one when everyone is gone after the funeral.

“On Saturday he is turning 11 years and to know that his mother isn’t there is heartbreaking. However, we all must see to that boy because he grew up in front of us with Natasha,” she said.

Community leader Billy Claasen said Booise’s death was uncalled for and it needed to be the last. He called on the police and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to ensure that justice was served.

Claasen said a march was planned on Friday to hand over a memorandum and petition to the National Prosecuting Authority, the police and the magistrate.

“We are aware that this is a high-profile case and we want the State to oppose bail. Smit, who was supposed to be a beacon of hope for distressed communities and to protect our women and children, turned out to be a danger to the community. We can not allow him to be released to our community,” he said.

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He called on Provincial Commissioner Thembisile Patekile to start “operation clean-up” at the West Coast police stations.

Anti-GBV activist Chalmane Kruger said many vulnerable victims died as a result of police negligence. She said this created more work and put more unnecessary pressure on good police officers who tried their best to aid communities.

“The incidents beg the question of how recruits in the police service are screened, whether regular counselling is received because the level and depth of their jobs influence their personal, emotional and spiritual being.

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“What happened to the proper policies and procedures that a gun could slip out of the police station to the hands of an off-duty officer, which is now questioned when it’s already late? Someone did not do their jobs properly and they need to face the proper disciplinary procedures and consequences,” said Kruger.

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Cape Argus

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