The civil rights organisation AfriForum says it is concerned about the court’s handling of the bail application of murder accused Dundee farmer, Garth Simpson.
AfriForum said in a statement on Thursday that it had taken the court more than a month to give the court record to AfriForum’s legal team to draw up the appeal application against the court’s decision to not grant bail to the farmer.
The farmer was charged with murder after a shooting incident on his farm. His case was came before the court again on Thursday 25 November so that the ballistic reports could be handed over. The case was postponed until 14 December to allow the public prosecutor to finalise the docket. Simpson will remain in custody.
AfriForum said that the organisation was of the opinion that the reasons given to deny bail were insufficient. The state had argued that Simpson’s bail application had been denied for his own safety.
Farmer displayed a good defence
AfriForum had previously announced that it would provide Simpson with legal assistance because it believed that he had displayed a good defence and that he would possibly be successful in his defence, provided that he had excellent legal representation during the hearing and that he did not fall victim to politically and racially based accusations.
The organisation said that as a rule it did not usually get involved in individual cases, but the organisation had made an exception because there were bigger issues at stake that do not only affect the accused farmer, but also the broader community.
Ernst Roets, AfriForum’s Head of Policy and Action, said farmers’ daily experienced numerous problems like illegal grazing, land grabs and farm attacks. “Politicians who regularly make statements against farmers and encourage expropriation without compensation, create a tense atmosphere in various rural areas,” Roets said.