Emotional scenes at Rene Roman accused's court appearance

2017-11-03 13:41
State prosecutor Ntsoaki Mabilietse talking to supporters of Rene Roman’s family outside the Western Cape High Court on Friday. (James de Villiers, News24)

State prosecutor Ntsoaki Mabilietse talking to supporters of Rene Roman’s family outside the Western Cape High Court on Friday. (James de Villiers, News24)

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Cape Town – There were emotional scenes at the Western Cape High Court on Friday, where the man accused of the rape and murder of 13-year-old Rene Roman appeared for a pre-trial conference.

However, activist Zaida Samuels, who attended the proceedings, told News24 that directing anger towards the accused would not solve anything.

Her eyes welled up as she spoke.

"I have also realised, with the time that I've been here today, I have possibly also, with my intentions and my thoughts, become a perpetrator."

Samuels explained that people should contain themselves and fix themselves in order to deal with the perpetrators and the family members, who have been hurt.

The accused, 50-year-old Andrew Goliath Plaatjies, appeared before Judge Robert Henney in a courtroom that was packed to capacity.

Several members of the public, activists and family members became emotional during the proceedings and shouted out during the proceedings to voice their dissatisfaction at yet another postponement. 

But Judge Henney intervened and asked them to keep quiet.

Among them were relatives and supporters of six-month-old Zahnia Woodward and 11-year-old Stacha Arendse, who were also killed in Cape Town. The men accused of all three murders appeared in the same courtroom.

Plaatjies, dressed in a dark blue hoodie, appeared unfazed by the crowd's reaction.

Supporters' reaction

The case was postponed to November 17 to give Plaatjies time to consult with his newly-appointed Legal Aid lawyer. His previous legal representative recused himself.

On that date, another pre-trial conference will be held.

Outside court, prosecutor Ntsoaki Mabilietse asked the roughly 30 supporters not to disrupt court proceedings again. 

"You have to work with me here. The judge is asking me why you are behaving this way," she told them.

Lucinda Evans, founder of NPO Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal Our Women), agreed and told supporters huddled in a circle outside the court that they need to obey court rules.

Evans said she understood that it was the first time that many supporters attended court.

"We can, however, be the reason justice doesn't prevail," she added.

Roman's half-naked decomposing body was found below the floor of a wendy house in Lavender Hill on March 22 – 11 days after she had been reported missing. 

Her body was covered with a carpet and her hands and feet were bound.

Read more on:    cape town  |  courts  |  crime

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