National Prosecuting Authority has insisted that it has a strong case against terrorism accused and leader of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) in the West Rand, Bruce Nimmerhoudt, despite a scathing judgment against it.
Johannesburg – THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has insisted that it has a strong case against terrorism accused and leader of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) in the West Rand, Bruce Nimmerhoudt, despite a scathing judgment against it in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Yesterday, Magistrate Annelie Africa ruled that Nimmerhoudt had cast doubt on the evidence of the state against him. Magistrate Africa made the preliminary finding after Nimmerhoudt told the court that he was not the author or distributor of the voice note which urged people to attack malls and destroy various businesses in the West Rand.
He also told the court that he believed that the allegations against him were aimed at tarnishing his chances to be mayor in one of the municipalities in the West Rand.
In his testimony, he said he was part of a group of PA supporters who received and was shocked by the voice note. Nimmerhoudt also told the court that the voice note was sent to him by one of his party supporters, Luna Dickson.
Dickson also testified in the bail application and corroborated Nimmerhoudt’s version. Dickson also told the court that she related the same version to the Hawks on July 16, the same day Nimmerhoudt was taken into custody.
“I also told the Hawks that the voice note was sent to me by my aunt Rona and I sent it to the Patriotic Alliance WhatsApp group and Mannekrag who were busy defending local businesses against looting and destruction,” Dickson testified.
In her ruling, Magistrate Africa lambasted the police for shoddy work, especially their failure to provide the court with evidence that Nimmerhoudt was indeed the author of the voice note which encouraged people to attack malls and kill those who “stand in their way”.
Africa also filed a scathing attack on the police for their failure of a statement from Dickson’s aunt prior to Nimmerhoudt saying the police had ample time to do so after Dickson had made a formal statement to the Hawks.
According to Africa, the two witnesses, Dickson and Ashley Sauls – PA’s Joburg mayoral elect corroborated Nimmerhoudt on material facts but despite the finding NPA’s Joburg spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane was adamant that they have a strong case.
“We accept the court’s judgment as it has no bearing on the merits of the case,” Mjonondwane said
This is despite the court’s finding that there was nothing in the police docket which was material for it to deny Nimmerhoudt bail. According to the court, the State in its opposition to bail, led the evidence of the investigating officer Captain Phakamile Gumede who testified that the court should deny him bail, saying if granted bail, it would send shock waves and would lead to public disorder.
The court, however, found that “when Captain Gumede was asked to explain his testimony, he replied. It was my personal opinion”.
In her ruling, Magistrate Africa said “there was no evidence that his release on bail will lead to a public outcry and disorder. Captain Gumede admitted during his testimony that it was his personal opinion and that amounts to mere speculation.
“No evidence was led to support the charges against Nimmerhoudt except that the police who arrested him acted on an intelligence report which said that the owner of that cell was the author of the voice.
“There was no voice comparative analysis in the docket which support’s the state’s case,” Magistrate Africa ruled.
She was adamant that the state’s case against Nimmerhoudt was “not sharp” saying the Hawks were provided with evidence about the identity of the first person who circulated the voice note but the police failed to obtain a statement from her.
Due to the police’s incomplete work, Nimmerhoudt was granted bail of R3 000 and was ordered not to interfere with witnesses in the case.
He was ordered to co-operate with the police on August 5 when he will for the first time undergo voice forensic examination to determine whether he is indeed the person speaking on the voice.
His case, however, was postponed until August 4 for further investigation.