State opposed bail.
THE case of three suspects involved in the kidnapping of the Grade R pupil Amy’Leigh de Jager has been postponed following bail opposition by the state.
The trio, Laetitia Nel, Pieter Jacobus van Zyl and Tharina Human who is a teacher at the school made their first appearance before court at the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate Court yesterday following their arrest last week.
Amy’Leigh, 6, was snatched by four men wearing masks outside Kollege Park State Primary School last week as she, her mother and her five-year-old brother were getting out of the car.
A ransom of R2 million was demanded by the kidnappers.
Amy’Leigh was released the next day unharmed and reunited with her family
Her parents were present at court and remained calm until the accused came up the stairs from the holding cells when the mother, Angeline, started crying uncontrollably while leaning on her husband’s shoulder for comfort.
The father of the accused teacher, Riaan Botha who was also present at court said he wanted to give support to both families, (his family and the De Jagers family).
“My redeemer lives, I am happy that my daughter is alive and the child that was kidnapped is well at home. We trust and believe and look into the future. Things at home have not been easy but we are looking up,” said Botha.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was also attended the case.
He said as he felt a need to be present at court to give support to the family and the school.
“As disturbing as it is, it is important for us to be here , to only give support but also demonstrate our rejection of any form that may lead to harm to our children,” he said.
Lesufi said that the parents made a good decision for keeping Amy’Leigh at school despite the incident
“Under such circumstances, the first action any parent would take is to want to remove their children from the school due to safety reasons. But they (the girl’s parents) agreed to keep their child in our institution,” he said.
He added that the department was working on the case and will update the involved stakeholders of the outcome.
The matter will be back in court next week for bail application.
Since then, reports have emerged that Human was friends with De Jager’s mother.
Various posts on the suspect’s social media show pictures of the two together on various occasions and in at least one instance, commenting on each other’s posts.
Local resident and family friend Shaun Delport confirmed the two were friends but was unable to say for how long.
He would also not be drawn into speculation making the rounds on social media regarding the motive for the kidnapping, saying he had “no clue why she kidnapped” De Jager.
This as a voicenote purporting to be of the suspect’s father makes the rounds claiming the teacher was the “mastermind” behind the kidnapping and had allegedly done it to get money to pay off her dealers.
She has since been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.
Meanwhile, media reports suggested that the teacher friend of the mother of kidnapped Amy’Leigh de Jager allegedly owed thousands of rands to druglords.
Family and associates at her school, Kollegepark Primary, have expressed shock that one of the accused was known to the family. It is understood that the Human, aged 27, comforted Amy’Leigh’s mother Angeline and attended a school meeting about Amy’Leigh’s disappearance.
News24 reported that she sent WhatsApp voice notes to parents, saying that there are “sickos out there” and asking them to pray for the girl.
Pictures of the teacher and mother appear on her Facebook profile.
Another website reported that the alleged mastermind behind the kidnapping was a Nigerian who also handled the ransom negotiations with Amy’Leigh’s parents.