IT HAS BEEN six years since Captain Anna-Marie Potgieter, a popular policewoman who dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of children, was shot dead – but the man who commissioned the murder still walks free.
Pieter Don Brandt, deemed by the Vereeniging High Court to be the mastermind behind the shooting of his girlfriend, has yet to be tried for the killing. This is while his hitman serves out his life behind bars.
An alleged accomplice, who spent two-and-a-half years in prison, was acquitted.
On January 17, 2006, Potgieter’s 15-year police career, and ambitious plans for the future, ended in bloodshed when she was attacked and shot dead with her own service pistol on a plot in Vereeniging.
She was supposed to write her final exam in child psychology that day. The next day, her naked body was found about 30m from the house, hidden under sheets of metal.
The 39-year-old policewoman had been shot twice, her arm was broken and her body was covered in bruises.
Two men, Justice Arthur Anthony, then 24, and Tiisetso John Dhlomo, then 19, were arrested shortly afterwards for the murder.
In August 2008, Dhlomo was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and Anthony, who had spent more than two years behind bars, was set free.
In her ruling in the Vereeniging Circuit High Court, Judge Margaret Victor found that Dhlomo had been paid to commit the murder by Brandt.
She said Dhlomo had shot Potgieter dead for R5 000 in a cold, calculated contract killing.
The judge found that on Sunday January 15, 2006, Dhlomo, 18 at the time and earning R600 a month, had met Brandt on his Vereeniging plot, where they had concluded an agreement.
“Pursuant to the agreement, Brandt gave accused one (Dhlomo) a firearm with 10 to 15 rounds of ammunition and showed him how to use the firearm,” Judge Victor said.
She recommended that Dhlomo never be considered for parole.
Potgieter’s family believe they have yet to see justice served, as promised to them by high-ranking police officials at her graveside six years ago.
Potgieter’s sister, Lorraine Esterhuizen, said the family were informed about a year ago that Brandt would not be arrested and the case had been closed. The family were not given a reason.
“Brandt is a free man, living happily in Heidelberg,” she said.
Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the case had not been closed.
“It has been sent to the National Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision.” The NDPP failed to respond to a request for comment on the status of the case.