Kidnapped Amy'Leigh still struggling, says her family as judge rules on bail

11 October 2019 - 14:12 By Iavan Pijoos
The four people accused of kidnapping Amy'Leigh de Jager appear in court on Friday. From left to right are Tharina Human, 27, Laetitia Nel, 40, Pieter van Zyl, 50, and Bafokeng Molemohi, 24.
The four people accused of kidnapping Amy'Leigh de Jager appear in court on Friday. From left to right are Tharina Human, 27, Laetitia Nel, 40, Pieter van Zyl, 50, and Bafokeng Molemohi, 24.
Image: Iavan Pijoos

The family of six-year-old Amy'Leigh de Jager says she is still "struggling" after her kidnapping.

Amy'Leigh's grandfather, Christo de Jager, said that the six-year-old was battling to come to terms with what happened.

"Every child has a fear of something like this happening to them, but I think she will be a bit relieved that they are not released on bail," he said outside court.

He was speaking after the Vanderbijlpark magistrate's court on Friday morning granted bail to one of the four people allegedly involved in the kidnapping, and denied bail for two others. The fourth suspect has abandoned his bid for bail.

Magistrate Hussain Khota denied bail to Tharina Human, 27, and Pieter van Zyl, 50. Bail of R25,000 was granted to Laetitia Nel. Her bail conditions say she has to report to the Vanderbijlpark police station every Wednesday and that she is not allowed to make any contact with state witnesses.

The court was informed that the fourth suspect, Bafokeng Molemohi, 24, had abandoned his bail application.

Human sat in the dock wiping her tears with white tissue. Nel, 40, was also in tears, seemingly relieved at being granted bail.

De Jager said the family was satisfied with the outcome of the bail application, saying he was "impressed".

"I quite expected the judgment, but I did not expect such a comprehensive judgment. I was quite impressed. I'm not going to say I'm happy because it's not something for me to be happy about. It shows that justice still prevails in the country," he said.

Amy'Leigh's mom, Angeline, broke down as the lengthy judgment was handed down.

Molemohi appeared in a different courtroom at the Vanderbijlpark magistrate's court, where he abandoned his bail application. At a previous court appearance, the state said the Lesotho national was illegally in the country. He was arrested after the other three, and his case later added to that of Human, Nel and Van Zyl.

While delivering judgment, Khota said the court agreed with the state's argument that it was not in the interests of justice to release Human and Van Zyl.

He said Human did not have fixed assets as she was renting a property, and had no fixed employment.

Khota said that should Human be released, there was a likelihood that she would intimidate state witnesses in the case.

Human's father, Riaan Botha, who sat in the front seats, looked on with despair as Khota denied his daughter bail. He left the court in a hurry after proceedings.

Khota said that Van Zyl was also a flight risk because his property had been sold and therefore he had no permanent residence.

Amy'Leigh was dropped off on a Vanderbijlpark street in the early hours of Tuesday, September 3. She was found by a couple, Hendrik Breedt and Savannah Kriel, who were making their way home from a neighbourhood pub.

They escorted her to a nearby police station, where her parents were waiting, bringing the hostage drama to an end.

Human was the grade RR teacher of Amy'Leigh’s brother, Jayden, 5. She was also the "best friends" with mother Angeline.

"The offence that the applications are charged with is any parent's worst nightmare. The court is fundamentally astounded that this girl was left in a compromised area on that night, surely anything could have happened to her," Khota said in his judgment.

The matter has been postponed to November 13 for the court to get a date in the high court in Johannesburg.


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