Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said Louis Johannes Grobler allegedly accused the children of theft on his farm.
COMMUNITY members and political organisations are protesting outside the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court, where 41-year-old farmer Louis Johannes Grobler is appearing on charges of attempted murder.
Two children, aged 10 and 12, are reportedly fighting for their lives in hospital after Grobler ran over them with his vehicle at his farm in Ermelo. He also allegedly assaulted a third child aged 13 and has been charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH).
A community leader and a member of the SA Communist Party, Mzwandile Zulu, told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika that the incident was racially motivated and the community is at court to oppose Grobler’s application for release on bail.
“We are here to register our unhappiness. The way the magistrate is conducting these proceedings. Here we are talking about attempted murder. We are also talking about GBH. This case was supposed to be postponed to next week, and we are surprised, as the SACP, that the case was on Monday adjourned to today just because the gentlemen (accused) is a white man,” said Zulu.
“So, we are here to say to the chief magistrate – the accused must remain behind bars until seven days have lapsed.”
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said Grobler allegedly accused the minor children of theft.
“According to the report, the suspect, Louis Johannes Grobler, allegedly ran over the two minors as well as assaulted the third one after accusing them of theft. The incident is said to have occurred on Friday, July 15, 2022, around 2pm, at a certain farm in Ermelo. The matter was then reported to the police, and after an investigation was done the man was arrested,” said Mdhluli.
Grobler appeared in court on Monday, where the matter was postponed to Wednesday for a formal bail application.
The incident has been “strongly” condemned by the provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela.
“Let us allow the law to take its course whilst discouraging people from taking the law into their own hands. We are thankful that police have managed to swiftly arrest the suspect. Now we leave everything in the hands of the court,” she said.