Richard Smit, the former police officer who is accused of murdering his girlfriend in January, made another appearance in the Piketberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 28 April.
Smit is in the midst of a bail application. He told the court that he intends to live with his brother in Strandfontein, Cape Town. The community, however, is firmly against the proposal.
TWO COMMUNITIES OPPOSED TO BAIL FOR ACCUSED
Smit allegedly shot and killed Natasha Booise in front of her son and other family members. At the time he was a police constable. He resigned from the South African Police Service in March.
The former policeman, who also had a stint as a court orderly at the local magistrate’s court, faces charges of murder, two counts of attempted murder, discharging a firearm in a built-up area and handling a firearm while under the influence of a substance with an intoxicating or narcotic effect.
Members of the Piketberg community are vehemently opposed to the accused being released on bail while residents of Strandfontein, which is more than 100 kilometres away, also do not want him in their area.
On Thursday morning, Sandy Shutter, the Chairperson of the Strandfontein Community Policing Forum (CPF) said on behalf of residents that the community felt it was not consulted about Smit’s possible relocation if he is let out on bail.
Shutter told the court she consulted with the community via multiple social media platforms. An online petition, which opposes bail for Smit and stresses that he is not welcome in the area, has 400 signatures to date.
Shutter also brought along letters written by community members.
“We are already living with crime in Strandfontein. We have crime in our area and we don’t want more. Smit’s face has been plastered in all media. He will not be able to hide where he stays. It is going to become a bit of a problem.
“Strandfontein has become a dumping ground. We are a very close-knit community. The way I know my community is that if there is a situation, we mobilize and march to the situation. We mobilize and protest to express our dissatisfaction. We protest right in front of the person’s house,” said the CPF chairperson.
SMIT NOT WELCOME IN STRANDFONTEIN
Shutter said she leads protests in the area and community members try to “keep things civil” but she cannot account for people that come from outside Strandfontein.
The community leader told State advocate Portia Chauke that she had not received written threats against Smit but had heard residents make threats about the proposed relocation of the accused.
“She further told Advocate Chauke that she understands the community’s concerns and frustrations but she will not stand for violence in her community.
“Smit’s lawyer, William Booth requested the matter to stand down so that he can consult with his client and also contact the brother and sister-in-law of the accused who provided the address,” said NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.
The matter is postponed to 17 May. Shutter is expected to be cross-examined.
Ntabazalila said he received a memorandum of demands from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which was addressed to the court, NPA and police.
Strandfontein community threatens ex-Piketberg cop who killed his girlfriend Thank You