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Piketberg constable remains in custody after girlfriend murder case postponed

Members of the Piketberg community protest outside the magistrate’s court. Picture: Supplied

Members of the Piketberg community protest outside the magistrate’s court. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 10, 2022

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Cape Town - Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz has pledged the department’s support and co-operation on the case against a Piketberg police constable, Richard Smit, accused of killing his girlfriend last week.

Fritz, who visited victim Natasha Booise’s family over the weekend, said the department would closely watch developments in the case to ensure that justice was served.

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“The news of what the victim, and the broader community of Piketberg, have had to go through over the festive season, comes as a cold reminder of the reality of gender-based violence under which many of the women and children in our communities have to live.

“We will never accept the actions of these monsters as a normal part of our society. As a society, we are outraged, and we reject their behaviour,” he said.

Smit made a second appearance at the Piketberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday, where his case was postponed to January 13 for formal bail application.

Smit is charged with murder, attempted murder, and discharging a firearm in a public area. The State will oppose bail.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said more charges were likely to be added as the investigation continued.

Smit also faces a memorandum of demands from the community, with more than 3 000 signatures, which was handed over to the NPA, the police, and the magistrate’s court.

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Ntabazalila said the State was also made aware of 11 000 online signatures opposing bail for Smit.

The community demanded that the suspect be denied bail as there were fears that he would interfere with the state witnesses. In the memorandum, it said the suspect and his past offences were well known in the area.

The memorandum also said that following the incident there were fears for his safety as some community members were seeking revenge.

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With femicide and crimes against women and children widespread, and with GBV being declared a second pandemic, the community demanded that the accused receive a maximum sentence with no parole.

It further demanded that police in the area be evaluated to determine their competence to own a firearm.

Smit remains in custody.

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