Witness: ‘I think he was enraged and frustrated’

2019-11-13 06:00
photo: andile sithole The Greytown Magistrate’s Court where accused Johan Olivier testified.

photo: andile sithole The Greytown Magistrate’s Court where accused Johan Olivier testified.

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A WITNESS testifying in the crimen injuriacase relating to a man accused of making racist remarks towards the Indian community told the court that the accused was highly enraged and drunk when he posted a message on Facebook on November 7, 2018 labelling the Diwali festival as “C***** Vaalie”.

The accused’s girlfriend, Estelle Beyleveld, told the court that she was inside the house when she heard the accused, Johan Olivier (51), shouting after their neighbour Regesh Govender and his family started letting off fireworks during Diwali celebrations.

“I think he [Olivier] was enraged and frustrated. He had too much to drink, I must be honest with you. He did not know what he was getting himself into.

“They used to burst fireworks every year but not as bad as last year and this year,” Beyleveld said.

She told the court that last year Olivier and other members of the family had been sitting on the veranda drinking when he [Olivier] posted the message on Facebook.

“Fireworks came from Govender’s house. The animosity started after Olivier and Govender had issues. Before this we were all friends. He [Govender] even knows my father.

“This year [October 27] was horrific. Windows were [shaking] and I had to hold a two-year-old child on my lap because he was hysterical and frightened,” Beyleveld said.

The second witness, Illse Horse, broke down into tears while she was testifying in court.

She told the court that her two children were traumatised by the fireworks, saying this was because “they are not used to the loud bangs’’.

Olivier had called on the two witnesses to tell the court what transpired on the day he posted the message on Facebook.

“I was so furious because of the fireworks and I was out of control.

“I posted something on [Facebook], something that was not cool. It came out that I typed ‘C***** Vaalie’ sh*t.

“Some of my Indian friends contacted me on WhatsApp and then asked me why I am becoming a racist,” he said.

Olivier insisted that the message he posted on Facebook was a human error.

“It was not directed at anybody or any religion.

“I was typing in the dark. When I write, I can only do so with my glasses on. I don’t know what happened on that day,” he said.

When the state prosecutor asked Olivier to explain in detail the content of the message he posted on Facebook, Olivier said he was under the influence of alcohol and cannot remember the exact words he posted.

“I meant to say this was not cool [because] of the Diwali sh*t.

“I was using a smart phone, and it changed the wording to C*****,” he said.

In his testimony, he told the court that he got evidence that on October 27 [during the Diwali celebrations] Govender had directed fireworks at his house.

“We do not have a problem with anyone bursting fireworks but we do have a problem with him firing at our house.

“We tried to phone the SAPS [but] nothing prevailed; they said they could not send the van because it was [within] Govender’s rights to set off fireworks at that time.

“Pieces of concrete [were] coming down into our house.”

Olivier produced the exhibits of the fireworks that allegedly landed on his house.

The matter was adjourned until November 19 for final judgement.

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