Andre Pienaar, protester who allegedly incited storming of Senekal court denied bail

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Andre Pienaar appears in the Senekal Magistrate's Court.
Andre Pienaar appears in the Senekal Magistrate's Court.
PHOTO: Alex Mitchley/News24
  • Andre Pienaar was arrested and charged with attempted murder, public violence and incitement to violence.
  • A previous charge of terrorism was withdrawn after the National Director of Public Prosecutions did not authorise the charge.
  • Pienaar is not a farmer as previously reported, but the owner of a construction business in Senekal.


The 51-year-old man who was arrested following unrest at the Senekal Magistrate's Court has been denied bail.

Andre Pienaar, who appeared in the Senekal Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, has been charged with attempted murder, public violence and incitement to violence.

A previous charge of terrorism has been withdrawn after the National Director of Public Prosecutions did not authorise the charge.

Pienaar – who is not a farmer, but rather the owner of a construction business in Senekal – previously said he would be pleading not guilty to all charges.

Handing down judgment, Magistrate Buti Mlangeni had stern words for the accused, finding that Pienaar had not made a sufficient case to be released on bail.

Mlangeni said there was a clear attempt by Pienaar to jeopardise the criminal case and investigation.

He said that, during Pienaar's short time in custody, he was able to identify witnesses who could exonerate him.

"This was a deliberate attempt to jeopardise a criminal investigation," Mlangeni said.

The magistrate found that, if released, Pienaar may interfere with witnesses.

Mlangeni added that the seriousness of the crimes that Pienaar is accused of justified the limitation of his liberties.

This included the alleged assault on a female police officer, which the court said was related to issues of gender-based violence in the country.

The court found that there was a strong likelihood that Pienaar would disturb law and order if released on bail and that it would cause a public outcry.

Pienaar's wife started crying after the magistrate delivered the verdict and claimed people were laughing at her.

Mlangeni said: 

He has shown no regard for law and order.

Bail arguments

During the bail application, the State argued that Pienaar had attended a gathering of farmers ahead of the court appearance of the two men accused of murdering 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner.

There, he is accused of inciting the crowd to go and fetch the Horner accused from the court's holding cells.

Chaos subsequently erupted as a small group of people stormed the court building. A police vehicle was overturned and allegedly set alight during the fracas.

WATCH | Police van torched as farmers storm holding cells of Brendin Horner murder accused

The attempted murder charge emanates from allegations that the accused tried to set the holding cells alight and fired the two gunshots that were discharged in the court.

However, the investigating officer in the matter testified in the bail application that he did not know who fired the shots.

It was further placed on court record that Pienaar had assaulted the two accused in the Horner matter with a flat iron bar that he had used to gain entry into the cells.

The State said the two accused in the Horner matter were injured and subsequently taken to hospital for treatment.

However, according to the defence, they have two witnesses who were also in the holding cells who would testify that Pienaar was not part of the action.

The defence further argued that there was no evidence connecting Pienaar to some of the acts that unfolded at the court last week.

The State retorted that the doctrine of common purpose would be used to connect the accused to the alleged crimes.

It was further placed on record that there are a number of witness statements that implicate Pienaar.

The matter has been postponed to 20 November.

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