Thousands sign petition to keep alleged Piketberg killer cop behind bars

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Residents picketed outside the Piketberg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday when a police officer charged with murdering a woman appeared in court.
Residents picketed outside the Piketberg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday when a police officer charged with murdering a woman appeared in court.
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  • A police officer charged with killing his girlfriend in front of her 10-year-old son appeared in court on Friday.
  • Sergeant Richard Smit faces charges of murder, attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a public area.
  • The case was postponed to 13 January for a bail application.

A Piketberg policeman, who allegedly gunned down his girlfriend in front of her 10-year-old son and other family members, will remain behind bars until his bail application next week.

Natasha Booise died in a hail of bullets on Sunday while out on a stroll with her family in the West Coast town.

Her boyfriend, Sergeant Richard Smit, has been charged with murder, attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a public area.

Smit made a brief appearance in the Piketberg Magistrate's Court on Friday amid a protest by residents.

The State alleged that Smit opened fire on Booise, killing her in front of her 10-year-old son and other family members.

Family members told News24 Smit had driven up to them in his private vehicle, and Booise had gone to talk to him. Booise had refused to get into Smit's vehicle, but the family had not heard the words exchanged between the couple.

A few minutes later shots were heard and family members ran in different directions, trying to get their children out of harm's way.

READ MORE | Cop appears in court for girlfriend's murder

According to the family, the shooter kept firing at them, allegedly also targeting Booise's mother.

Booise's death has sparked outrage in the small town.

Hundreds of residents took to the streets and gathered outside the local magistrate's court on Friday to hand over a memorandum of demands to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), police and Department of Justice.

 Natasha Booise
Natasha Booise. was shot dead allegedly by a police officer on Sunday in front of her 10-year-old son. (Supplied)

They also handed over a petition with more than 3 000 written names and signatures, while thousands more signed an online petition to ensure the policeman stayed behind bars until the start of his trial.

NPA spokesperson in the Western Cape Eric Ntabazalila said the matter was postponed to 13 January for bail proceedings.

"More charges are likely to be added as the investigation continues. His case has been postponed for a formal bail application. The State will oppose bail," Ntabazalila added.

ALSO READ | 'I had to get him away from the bullets': Relative recalls moments after woman shot dead in front of son, family

Smit will remain in custody.

"The State was told that there are 11 000 more online and electronic signatures opposing bail against the accused," Ntabazalila said.

According to Billy Claasen, executive director of the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation, many "skollies" in the South African Police Service think they can get away with murder.

"We cannot allow this in our communities anymore. If we do not act now, we will sit with the same problems in other areas. The police must get rid of the rotten apples in the service. Take them out of the West Coast," he said.


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