Innocent till proven guilty


The parliamentary portfolio committee on sport has been asked to look at ways to suspend convicted murderer Gert van Schalkwyk from the Mpumalanga-based rugby team, the Pumas, the SABC reported on Tuesday.

News24 reports that committee member, Cedric Frolic, suggested that Van Schalkwyk be suspended until his court appeal against his conviction is finalised.

Van Schalkwyk, Christoff Becker, Frikkie du Preez, and Reinach Tiedt were found guilty of the 2001 murder of an unidentified man and the assault of another and sentenced to 12 years. An appeal to the Pretoria High Court was unsuccessful and they plan to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Discussing the Pumas’ selection of Van Schalkwyk, committee members also expressed concern over the SA Rugby Union’s silence on the issue.

Pumas president Hein Mentz defended Van Schalkwyk saying he is “innocent until proven” guilty, the SABC reported.

Members of the committee also criticised Mentz for saying Van Schalkwyk could run for deputy president of the country, because he is still innocent.

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  1. For once I agree with them. He was already proven guilty. The fact that he and his hooligan friends are trying to get out of it with some lame excuses and bullshit stories, makes no difference.

    There is no place for him on the rugby field outside of a prison. Pay your dues first.

  2. Just thinking back to the actual case. Remember how the prosecutor was threatened, dockets disappeared and now they want to say the that the guy they assualted and murdered is still alive.


  3. There are two issues here, one legal, the other, for want of a better word, moral:

    1) Legally speaking, the only thing blocking van Schalkwyk playing is the conditions of his bail or parole.

    2) Morally speaking, the Pumas should not be selecting a convicted racial killer in a team in a country where we should be using rugby as a bridge across communities.

    The chief wrongdoer here is Hein Mentz. At best he’s foolish, at best, deliberately provocative.

    Just the kind of person I’d expect to see heading a Mickey Mouse union like the Pumas, in other words.

  4. Legally he is now guilty until proven innocent, twice over.

    Best he can hope for is that the judge concurs that there is some doubt.

    Supreme Court certainly won’t find that two judges did not apply their minds or err in sentencing. New evidence is all that will help.

  5. Donner

    In which case Mentz is playing politics. A political game he cannot win. That wouldn’t worry me so much, because he’ll crash and burn for it anyway.

    The problem is the good work done by true rugby people gets undone in the process.

  6. “or err in sentencing. New evidence is all that will help.”

    I wonder if they realise that the court of Appeal can even increase the sentence. I hope they do. 12 years for such a cowardly act is not enough.

    The thing is that they acknowledged the fact that they assaulted the guy. That alone is worth 12 years.

  7. redj

    My reading of it is that the “innocent/guilty” story is irrelevant. When a guy gets let out of chookie like this, there are certain conditions attached, eg he should not leave the country, he should report regularly to his local police station, etc. It’s those conditions that determine whether he should play or not.

    The point though is not a legal one, it’s a moral one.

  8. Postie,

    Yes, and somewhere the moral decay amongst the kids need to be addressed. If it takes making examples of these kids, then so be it.

  9. When I see the stubbornness of Mentz and his second-rate union, I think of a black parent of a promising young player with Springbok potential, who sees this and says: “That’s it, no son of mine is going to play this sport.”

  10. This also shows you the calibre of person we have running our unions. All the idiocy coming out of the Presidents Council makes sense now.

  11. Just asked my daughter.

    You are in fact innocent until you have exhausted all avenues of appeal. The fact that the judge allows an appeal prolongs your innocence.

    News to me.

    But you are right it is a moral issue.

  12. “You are in fact innocent until you have exhausted all avenues of appeal. The fact that the judge allows an appeal prolongs your innocence.

    News to me.”

    To me too.

  13. Innocent till proven guilty

    :oogle: What?!? An inncocent cash register proved guilty – of what, handing the money to robber without ado?

    until ==> ’til, strictly speaking 2nd time in two days I saw it used like that, just thought I’d take the mickey out of someone for it!

    …Laat ‘n Nam plaasjaap julle nou so vang!

  14. Back to the topic – though I’d dig up Private Ryan’s fav bovine:
    What about the Delicous player(s) who KILLED an opponent. One was named player of the year if I’m not mistaken and they are still allowed to play?
    Didn’t hear SARU or any flippen portfolio/comittee complain about that.

    What those boys do wasn’t right but yet again it’s too much to ask for simple consistency.

    Have those players been to court, what is status on their case?

  15. Nam

    We all know by now that it depends on who receives the money!

    That determines whether it’s a gift or a bribe.

    Same with other crime.