Lies sink Scholtz murder accused’s hopes for bail
Murder accused Wayne Russouw lied about almost everything in his bail application and could not be trusted not to interfere with witnesses, a magistrate found on Tuesday.
From details about where he lived to the extent of support to his child, Russouw’s fabrications were part of the reason he – along with his coaccused Ronald Swartz – were denied bail in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court.
Russouw and Swartz, with Russouw’s mother, Christine, 55, and sister, Chantell, 35, are accused of the brutal murder of an elderly electrician.
Magistrate Thuli Betela said Russouw and Swartz had failed to prove compelling and substantial circumstances to be released from custody.
Betela said Russouw, 31, and Swartz, 24, had failed to prove that they were not flight risks, as neither had a permanent address, nor that they would not interfere with or intimidate state witnesses.
“If [Russouw] gets released there is the possibility he may commit further crimes.”
The two men, as well as Christine and Chantell, face charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances following the murder of Petrus Scholtz, 70, in July.
All four have pleaded not guilty and, while Christine and Chantell abandoned their bail applications, Russouw and Swartz pointed fingers at each other in their affidavits detailing their alleged involvement in Scholtz’s murder.
Scholtz’s severely beaten body was discovered on a gravel road in Fairview on July 19.
His head had been wrapped in clingwrap and his hands and feet bound.
It is alleged that Scholtz was lured to the Woltemade Street, Kabega Park, home under false pretences on July 16.
The following day, Russouw allegedly called Scholtz to come to collect the call-out fee for the previous day – which is when Swartz allegedly attacked Scholtz from behind, strangling him, while Russouw beat him with a baton.
After Russouw tied Scholtz’s hands and feet together, he and Swartz allegedly put his body in a chest freezer.
The next day, Russouw and his sister went to Cash Crusaders and allegedly sold off some of Scholtz’s tools while Christine is alleged to have sold his bakkie the day after.
Russouw, Chantell and Swartz allegedly dumped Scholtz’s body in Fairview the day before their July 20 arrest.
Both Chantell and Swartz claimed that Russouw had threatened to kill them if they went to the police.
Chantell had marks on her neck when she was arrested, and told police Russouw had tried to strangle her.
Betela found on Tuesday that Russouw had lied in his affidavit for his bail application, dismissing his claims that he was the sole breadwinner for his five-year-old son, that he owned a tow-truck business and that he had a fixed address.
Betela also found that Swartz was a repeat offender who had been convicted on three other charges including robbery and housebreaking, while Russouw had three pending cases, including for fraud and theft of a vehicle.
Russouw’s claim that he lived with his ex-girlfriend was false, with the house owned by the woman’s father, who did not want him near the family.
The four will remain in custody until they appear in court again on October 25.