Suspect accused of killing Famous Brands exec makes first court appearance

Case postponed for further investigation.
Famous Brands executive Andre Piehl. Image: Supplied

The matter concerning the killing of triathlete and operations executive within the leading brands portfolio of Famous Brands, Andre Piehl, was postponed to May 18, after suspect Kabelo (Katlego) Nyatlo (30) made a brief first appearance at the Randburg Magistrates Court on Monday.

Read: Famous Brands executive killed while cycling

Nyatlo, who handed himself over to authorities on Monday, was released on a warning, pending further investigation of the case, in preparation for trail.

As part of the terms of his release, Nyatlo will not be allowed to leave the province without the consent of the senior prosecutor on the case, Yusuf Baba, and investigating officer Sergeant Thipe.

The Porsche Cayenne SUV driver faces multiple charges, including one of culpable homicide.

Kabelo (Katlego) Nyatlo leaving Randburg Magistrates Court after the postponement of his case. Video: Akhona Matshoba/Moneyweb

The suspect is alleged to have fatally hit Piehl and injured fellow cyclist Je’an Du Preez while the two were on their way back from a training session on Saturday (January 29).  The accident is said to have happened on the R512 near Lanseria.

Harrington Johnson Wands (HJW) Attorneys – the attorneys representing the victims in this case – say the outcomes from Monday’s court proceedings were to be expected.

“We would like to reaffirm our commitment to exercising all of our resources to ensure that justice is obtained for both Andre Piehl, who tragically lost his life, and Je’an Du Preez, who remains in a very serious condition in hospital,”  the attorneys said in a statement.

Read: Famous Brands executive killed while cycling

A mourning cycling community

Some members of the cycling community attended the day’s court proceedings in support of the two victims. The community, which has been shattered by the news of Piehl’s passing and the injury of his fellow cyclist, pleaded with fellow road users to be responsible on the roads.

“Our message is to say, ‘motorists can you please see us. Can you see the runners, can you see the walkers… Let’s share the road. Let’s follow the rules of the road. Don’t drink and drive – it’s not worth it’,” cyclist Ndilisa Didiza says.

Cyclists also called on the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) to build more cycling lanes to ease congestion on existing lanes and for government to ensure that lawbreakers face the full might of the law.

“We need more cycling lanes. Yes this happened in a cycling area. People leave the city centres and go to the Cradle, but you should see how full it gets in that area. It’s just tragic,” Didiza says.

“But it doesn’t [mean to] say let’s not have those cycling zones within our areas of work, within our areas of school. We definitely need more,” she added.

“These cases cannot just disappear and no one knows what happened, because then the next person will think: ‘I can do it as well, I can get away with it’,” Didiza says.

Nyatlo, who was initially apprehended soon after the accident on Saturday, was released on Monday (January 31) after the case failed to be placed on the court roll due to insufficient evidence.

A fellow cyclist who often shared cycling routes with the victims says he is tired of constantly cycling with the fear of losing his life.

“Every time I try to get on my bike, I have to think about, ‘Is this my last day?’ ‘Am I going to have a healthy ride and come back home and kiss my son?’ We don’t want to have that fear anymore,” Siphethuxolo Didiza said.

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I sincerely hope the legal process in this case is correctly followed and that the ultimate verdict is based on the law AND Justice. This was a criminal act….not an accident.

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