On September 11, Benoni resident Sean Swart, accused of the murder of Rynfield businessman Nardus Blokland in November of the previous year, made a brief appearance in the Groblersdal Regional Court.
Acting on behalf of the family in a watching brief capacity, Chad Thomas of IRS Forensic Investigations disclosed that the case had been postponed to accommodate a pre-trial conference scheduled for November 13, exactly one year after Blokland’s tragic death.
Thomas clarified the purpose of the pre-trial conference, stating, “A pre-trial conference is to ensure that all the relevant police reports, documents, and statements related to the case are provided to the defense. These proceedings, as directed under section 54(1) of the Magistrates’ Court Act, establish the framework for the upcoming trial, addressing the simplification of issues, the need or desirability of amending any pleadings, and the potential for obtaining admissions or reaching a plea agreement.”
He also emphasised that, as part of their watching brief, attorney Eric Bryer and himself would participate in the pre-trial conference to safeguard the rights of the victim and the victim’s family.
The incident allegedly occurred at the Highside Tavern in Tonteldoos, Mpumalanga, owned by the accused, Sean Swart, on November 4. Blokland, accompanied by his wife Alison and friends, had gathered at the venue to celebrate Swart’s 40th birthday.
According to reports, the confrontation arose when Swart’s brother-in-law, who had recently undergone a hip replacement, fell during a playful scuffle with Blokland. Eyewitnesses claimed that Swart, who observed the altercation from a distance, responded by striking Blokland. He then stormed into the pub, emerging with a stool, which he used to assault the victim.
Blokland is believed to have succumbed to chest and head trauma injuries.
Despite the strain these delays have caused the Blokland family, Thomas stressed the importance of the State adhering to due process to ensure that justice is served.
Swart has not yet entered a plea and remains out on bail, which was set at R15,000, following his second appearance in the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court on November 9.
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Photo: Supplied by Bononi City Time