Magistrate Semakuleng in his judgment said the three were accessories after the fact, while the other five accused were actively involved in the alleged murders of Joey (3) and Anisha (30) van Niekerk in December last year.
The 21-year-old wife of the so-called mastermind behind the murders, his son (29) en the son’s 18-year-old girlfriend were granted bail of R20 000, R10 000 and R10 000 respectively.
The ‘mastermind’ (52), two of his workers (23 and 18), and two other men (36 and 33) were denied bail and remain in custody.
The eight accused will stand trial on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances, rape, housebreaking and murder.
“The attorneys’ submission that the accused should be granted bail because the state has no evidence or witnesses has no merit. I have no reason to dispute the investigating officer’s testimony,” Thamage said.
He said the five accused who were denied bail did not succeed in proving exceptional circumstances and it is not in the interest of justice to grant them bail.
The two men, who worked for the ‘mastermind’ tried to run away when the police tried to arrest them, as did one of the others. The so-called mastermind lied to the court about previous convictions. Thamage said this was an indication of the likelihood of evading trial.
He said the other three accused succeeded in giving evidence to convince the court to grant bail. The wife of the ‘mastermind’ was granted R20 000 bail, and his son and his girlfriend, R10 000 each.
Thamage said witnesses saw the ‘mastermind’ giving instructions to his co-accused on what to do with the victims. His two workers both allegedly raped the women and assisted in hanging them and disposing of the remains.
The wife of the ‘mastermind’ allegedly bought the acid that was used to burn the bodies, the son’s girlfriend cleaned up the crime scene and the son drove the vehicle that disposed of the remains.
Another accused went on a shopping spree with one of the woman’s bank card and the other also assisted in the hanging.
Family members of the two murdered women told the Kormorant that they welcomed the judgement but were puzzled why three got bail. “By assisting in the murders they are just as guilty,” said Lourens Erasmus, the murdered Joey’s brother. Lourens and his sister, Rina Payne, only heard at court on Thursday morning that some of the bones found on the farm, were those of their sister, The remains of Anisha have still not been found.
“One would think the police would have let us know first,” Rina said. “I suppose it is better to know for sure that Joey is dead, but it doesn’t make it any easier and it raises more questions.”
Anisha’s brother, Wynand van Niekerk, said it was a relief that the specific five accused did not get bail. “They would have been able to tamper with evidence,” he said.
About the fact that Anisha’s remains have not been found yet, he said that the family has already said goodbye to her during a memorial service. “In spite of the gruesome crime and how she died, we managed to say goodbye in a good way. To obtain a death certificate is still a big problem.”
The case was remanded to 25 May for the Director of Public Prosecution’s instructions.