The Brits Magistrates Court denied bail to two men from a farm near Brits, Jaco Wessel Kemp (35) and Luis Coetzee (35), while the third accused Gert Frederik Van Der Weshuizen (38), was granted bail of R5000, with conditions that he should report to the police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The three are facing a charge of murder of Dumisani Phakathi (45).
It is alleged that on 17 September 2023, at approximately 02H00 Kemp and Coetzee were stopped by the police during their stop and search operation, on the R511 toward Brits driving a bakkie. The bakkie was loaded with black garbage bags,and during the search, it is alleged that the police saw legs sticking out from under the bags covered with blood, when searching further it as alleged that they found the body of the deceased covered with blood and his head covered with plastic. The two were then arrested on the scene by the police.
Van Der Weshuizen handed himself over to the police on 19 September 2023, after investigations linked him to the offence.
In court Kemp and Coetzee told the court that they intend to plead not guilty to the charges, and asked the court to release them on bail because they were breadwinners of their families.
However, the District Court prosecutor Octavia Pletschke, opposed their bail application and read into the record the statement of the Investigating officer Sgt Sebotjane, of Brits SAPS of how the two were linked to the offence, not only that the two were found approximately 60 km away from where the deceased was killed, therefore they attempted to make it impossible to find the deceased or identify him. Furthermore, Pletschke told the court that given the strength of the state case, there is likelihood that the two accused will evade trial, interfere with witnesses and conceal or destroy evidence given that they had already tried. Moreover, she said releasing the two on bail would undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system.
Magistrate Rosenburg agreed with the state that releasing the two accused on bail was not in the interest of justice, given the strength of the state case, therefore bail was denied.
The matter was postponed to 13 December 2023, for further investigations.
NPA Regional Spokesperson
Gauteng Division: Pretoria