CAT suspects pay R75000 bail


Cape Town – Two men who allegedly turned a luxury flat in Sea Point into a laboratory for manufacturing the drug, CAT, were released on bail on Wednesday after their families raised R75000 for each of them. Cape Town magistrate Aziz Hamied fixed bail at R100000 each on Monday, but on Tuesday reduced the amount at the request of defence attorney Ben Mathewson. Jacobus Johannes Venter, 42, and Jacques van Rensburg, 37, couldn’t raise the reduced amount either, at first. But, they managed to do so overnight and they stepped out of the dock Wednesday, bail paid. The case was postponed to April 24 next year for further investigation. Prosecutor Carmen Daniels told the court that the substances confiscated in the police raid on June 28 were being forensically analysed to ensure it was methcathinone – the forensic name for CAT. Three weeks ago, the Scorpions’ asset forfeiture unti (AFU) got a Cape High Court order to freeze a bank account belonging to the two men and containing R305000.

High Court order

At the magistrate’s court proceedings on Tuesday, the prosecutor said the AFU was drafting papers for a second High Court order to freeze further bank accoutns and luxury items confiscated from Venter and van Rensburg’s home in Noordhoek. As it turned out, Daniels was unaware that the intended second High Court application was already under way. A provisional High Court order was granted, and the AFU application was postponed to August 30 for Venter and van Rensburg to oppose it, if they wanted to do so.

CAT suspects can’t afford bail


Cape Town – Bail for two men accused of making the drug, CAT, was reduced from R100000 to R75000 each by Cape Town magistrate’s court on Tuesday – but the pair were still unable to raise the money. Jacobus Johannes Venter, 42, and Jacques van Rensburg, 37, are accused of manufacturing and selling the drug from a luxury apartment in Sea Point. Defence attorney Ben Mathewson told magistrate Aziz Hamied the men’s circumstances had changed overnight, and their families had been able to raise on R60000 for each. Mathewson told the court that on Monday “we all thought R200000 was available for the bail, but things have suddenly changed.

Bank accounts, cars

“We had hoped to liquidate some of my client’s assets to raise the money, but the asset forfeiture unit (AFU) has frozen all their bank accounts. It also is to launch a second application in the High Court for an additional preservation order to include funds in their bank accounts and their cars.” Ven and van Rensburg were granted R100000 bail each on Monday. They were remanded to the safer police cells at Sea Point, rather than back at Pollsmoor Prison, where, according to Mathewson, conditions for awaiting trial prisoners were appalling. On Tuesday, however, they realised the money they had planned to use for bail was no longer available to them. Mathewson reminded the court that to set bail at a sum his clients could not afford was the same as refusing bail. He said the AFU already had confiscated R900000 belonging to the men, as well as their luxury car, “which is more than enough”. Prosecutor Carmen Daniels countered that the court had purposely set bail at R100000 each, based on facts placed before the court.

Back to Pollsmoor Prison

She said sums totalling R1.5m had gone through Venter and van Rensburg’s joint bank account in a matter of eight months. Because Venter and van Rensburg were again unable to pay the reduced bail immediately, they were remanded to Wednesday, at Mathewson’s request. This time, however, they had to return to Pollsmoor Prison as there was no place for them at Sea Point cells. On Wednesday, they hope to pay the bail at court, and the case would then be postponed

‘CAT’ drug makers out on bail


Cape Town – Two men accused of manufacturing the drug “cat” in a luxury Sea Point flat were granted R100000 bail each on Monday in the Cape Town magistrate’s court. Jacobus Johannes Venter, 41, formerly of Pietersburg, and Jacques van Rensburg, 37, formerly of Tulbagh in the Boland, were released despite fears by prosecutor Carmen Daniels and investigator Gerhardus Kotze’ that they would abscond. Magistrate Aziz Hamied said this fear could be allayed with strict bail conditions, and the court thus had no reason to refuse them bail. Although huge sums of money had been deposited into several bank accounts owned by the pair, prior to their arrest, they were unable to immediately raise the bail money and will remain in custody until the cash is raised on Tuesday.

Kept in prison hospital

At the request of defence attorney Ben Mathewson, they were remanded to the Sea Point police cells. Mathewson said conditions for awaiting trial prisoners in Pollsmoor Prison, where they were kept previously, were appalling. In affidavits handed to the court, both men said they were HIV-positive, and were held in the hospital section at the prison. Kotze told the court the two had previously manufactured “cat” from their Noordhoek home about two years ago, before renting an apartment in Sea Point for this purpose.

Both face long jail sentences

Van Rensburg told Kotze he and Venter made “cat” to get money to study and to start a joint business venture. He said van Rensburg, after his arrest, had confessed to a magistrate that he made a living by selling drugs. Kotze said he had a strong case against both men, who faced a long jail term if convicted, and this alone was motivation to abscond. The men will appear in court again on Tuesday, when the case will be postponed to a later date.