Rustenburg - The sentence handed down to Jaco Swart at the Pretoria North Regional Court is not a “bad” sentence, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Wednesday.
Swart was fined R20 000 and handed a three year suspended sentence on Tuesday, for assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) after he pleaded guilty for assaulting his wife, Nicoleen Swart at their car dealership in Sinoville, north of Pretoria in 2018.
“This is not a bad sentence, he (Jaco Swart) was sentenced to a fine of R20 000 or alternatively three months in jail and a further three years’ imprisonment suspended for five years,” said NPA spokesperson in the Pretoria division, Lumka Mahanjana.
The video of the assault is below:
She said Swart was slapped with two sentences, that is he pays a fine of R20 000 or if he fails to pay the fine he goes to jail for three months.
He was further sentenced to three years in jail wholly suspended for five years.
“In fact this is a good sentence, what it really means is that he pays R20 000 or goes to jail for three months, and should he be found guilty of assault in five years he will go to jail for three years.”
She explained that usually people convicted of assault GBH were sentenced to only a fine, in this case there was a fine and a suspended jail term sentence.
Speaking to IOL on Wednesday, Nicoleen, said she was not happy about the sentence.
“I am not happy, although he was found guilty... I am not happy with the sentence he got. I think if the people saw the video in court, the sentence will have been more than what he got. I cannot believe the justice system failed me once more.”
The CCTV footage released by AfriForum Private Prosecution Unit, shows Swart pushing, punching and kicking Nicoleen inside their car dealership.
The incident was captured on CCTV footage at the dealership.
According to AfriForum Private Prosecution Unit spokesman, Barry Bateman, the matter was previously struck off the court roll.
Nicoleen and her family then approached the Unit for help.
“Advocate Gerrie Nel and his team, made representations to the director of public prosecution (DPP), and indicated that they were prepared to institute private prosecution. Thereafter, the DPP instructed in May 2021 that the accused must be summarily prosecuted,” he said.
“The NPA prosecutor applied to have the surveillance footage admitted for the purposes of aggravation of sentence, but the court disallowed this after the defence questioned its authenticity. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit had hoped more was done to ensure the footage was admitted to the record, to allow the magistrate to view first-hand Swart’s violent conduct directed at his wife.”
Nicoleen said she was scared and never asked for help or ran away or at least fought back when she was assaulted.
“I was afraid if I run away and he catches me what will happen to me... remember this is my husband, I worked for him, at the workplace I need to face him, at home I need to face him... It was like I could not go anyway, when he was hitting me, I went numb, I was praying that can this be over and I can walked out... .”
She said Swart is a very charming, entertaining, outgoing and very social person.
“If you meet him, you will think he is a good guy but, when things do not go his way he gets very aggressive. He is good when things go his way.”
She said Swart accused her of stealing from him and his business.
“He accused me of not listening to him and not doing my job properly.”
Nicoleen said said she would consult in a view to appeal the sentencing.
“We are confronted by the lip service paid to the fight against gender-based violence by all in the criminal justice system, as well as a lack of commitment and competence to take proper care for the victims of gender-based violence. However, we want to applaud Nicoleen Swart who decided not to remain a victim but to speak out,” said advocate Gerrie Nel, head of AfriForum Private Prosecution Unit.