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Gerrie Nel takes on fight for family of father killed in Klerksdorp parking lot attack

Advocate Gerrie Nel. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Media

Advocate Gerrie Nel. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Media

Published Oct 20, 2023


The family of a man who died following an assault in a Klerksdorp parking lot in September is rolling out the big guns in their fight for justice.

Linda May, whose son Hilton Pretorius died in hospital 18 days after he was allegedly punched by Wernich Botha approached AfriForum's Prosecution Unit out of concern that police were not giving the matter the attention it deserved.

IOL previously reported that Pretorius sustained a brain injury during the assault.

The young father of two suffered very serious injuries, including a cracked skull and bleeding on the brain.

A second victim, PW Roos, sustained a shoulder injury and a concussion and was discharged from hospital shortly after the attack.

Initially, Botha was charged with attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and granted bail, however, the charge of attempted murder was changed to murder upon Pretorius' death.

The unit's communications manager Barry Bateman said May's anxiety stems from the fact that the accused is well known in Klerksdorp and has family in the police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The family was also concerned that, despite initially claiming that he did not possess a passport or travel documents, he travelled to Somalia just days after the assault.

According to Botha's attorney, it was an error on his part.

Nel attended court proceedings accompanied by several members of his team.

"We have a fairly uncomplicated, yet essential brief, and that is to ensure that the case is fully investigated and all the available evidence is gathered and presented during trial. Our brief is to ensure that justice is done,” said Nel.

He added that a letter has been sent to the police and NPA, where areas that needed attention have been identified. To this end, Nel said the unit will monitor the case to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.

The matter was postponed to January 15, 2024.