‘Neighbour from hell’ feud moves up a notch
Former policeman begs to be freed after his arrest for assault
A bitter four-year feud between South End neighbours culminated in one of the men begging a magistrate to free him so he could defend himself against the mounting legal woes he is facing following years of alleged assaults and homophobic tirades.
The ongoing, vicious feud between a retired policeman and his neighbour saw Jacques Gouws, who is in his early 50s, arrested at his Pier Street, South End, home shortly after 2pm on Saturday.
He was charged later with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and held at the Humewood police station until his appearance in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Monday afternoon.
Public prosecutor Wendy Plaatjies told the court that Gouws had two pending assault cases and Gouws was then remanded in custody until he lodges a formal bail application on Tuesday.
The animosity between Gouws and his neighbour, Carel du Preez, 34 – who lives in a neighbouring unit in the Neapolis townhouse complex – dates back to at least September 30 2014, when an incident occurred between the two men.
In one incident in 2014, Gouws allegedly called Du Preez a “bloody sexless moffie” and, in another, he stuck a poster on the window of Du Preez’s home that read: “Crossdressing moffies are banned from knocking or loitering outside door. Will call SAPS.”
As a result of that incident, Du Preez filed a civil claim against Gouws for assault and malicious damage to property.
During the same period, the court granted an interdict, sought by Du Preez, against Gouws.
In June 2016, Gouws became embroiled in a second case, this time for intimidating Port Elizabeth High Court judge Elna Revelas – who had granted the interdict against Gouws.
Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said at the time that Gouws had been arrested at his home for intimidation, crimen injuria and not adhering to a court order.
She said Gouws was believed to have requested a meeting with the judge, but when the meeting was denied, he claimed that the judge had ruined his life and had then threatened to “expose” her.
Gouws’s court appearance on Monday marked his third time in court broadly as a result of the acrimony between the two neighbours.
Gouws – who was casually dressed in a pair of shorts, boots and socks and an open blue shirt covering a red T-shirt – first addressed magistrate J van der Westhuizen by apologising for his appearance – due to his incarceration in “inhumane conditions”.
He then launched a verbal attack on the arresting officers, claiming that his arrest was unconstitutional in that his rights had been infringed.
“I was lured to my front door and there were five police vans there [for me].
“I was thrown into the back of a police van while the police were going in and out of my house.
“Bicycles were taken from my house,” he claimed, before making a number of allegations around the conditions under which he had been held in custody.
The allegations included not having access to legal representation, his wallet and therefore money, and medication.
“I ask the court ... I implore the court to release me.
“I have a paid home and I am not a flight risk, I beg the court to release me on warning,” Gouws said.
Motivating for his immediate release, Gouws said he had two pending high court cases which were likely to reach the Constitutional Court and he had been informed that his legal issues would take about 15 months to conclude.“How can I prepare for these cases in custody?” he asked.“How can I do research and defend myself?”Gouws also presented a long list of injuries and ailments which he attributed to an accident during which “Carel du Preez knocked me off my bicycle”.“I need [to access] medical attention,” he said.“I have injuries on my right shoulder, my left testicle is bleeding ... I have fluids flowing into my scrotum ... and I have injuries to my hip.“I ask the court to give me equal opportunity to prepare myself,” Gouws said, referring to his pending court cases.He was returned to the court cells, with his next appearance set down for Tuesday, when he can make a formal bail application.Asked for comment, Du Preez alleged that the incident on Saturday was the third and had been captured on closed circuit TV cameras at his home.“I was on my way home from the memorial service of a friend of mine at around 2pm.“When I drove into the complex, I stopped at my house [and] I saw Mr Gouws in the general vicinity speaking to someone.“I got out of my vehicle and walked to my house about 5m away.“As I was busy unlocking my front door, Gouws stormed at me from behind and started attacking me.“The three people he was speaking to watched it happen [and] one of them was filming a video on his cellphone.“They didn’t intervene whatsoever – they thought it was very funny.”In the footage, seen by The Herald, a man believed to be Gouws can be seen pushing and shoving another man.The short clip ends with one man’s shirt torn off his body after he had been kicked in the face by the aggressor.Du Preez said he had not provoked Gouws.“He eventually stopped attacking me. I would say the attack lasted about 30 seconds,” Du Preez said, adding he sustained minor injuries to his upper body and face.Du Preez described Gouws as a “neighbour from hell”.“It’s been hell and it’s difficult because you have to look over your shoulder all the time, but I’ve a good CCTV system on my property [as well as] armed response,” he said.“So I’m convinced that if I’m inside my house ... help would arrive before [anyone wanting to attack could get inside].“The justice system is supposed to protect all citizens, so why should I be forced to move [out of my home] when the [alleged perpetrator] is out on the streets?”..