Businessman denies plotting former partner’s death

The accused, Mr Jacques Serfontein.

MBOMBELA – The acrimonious dissolution of a business partnership recently took a nasty turn in court. Local web mogul, Mr Jacques Serfontein, was arrested earlier this month and charged with conspiracy to murder in Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court.
This was confirmed by police spokesman, Capt Dawie Pretorius, on Thursday.

Mr Louis Schoeman.

The man allegedly targeted was Mr Louis Schoeman, his former business partner.
Police investigations have not yet been concluded.

Serfontein was released on R2 000 bail.

BeVisible, a company that created websites and managed social-media accounts, was at the heart of it all.

In its heyday, hundreds of local business owners recognised BeVisible as the Lowveld’s digital-marketing and search-engine optimisation pioneer. It all came tumbling down in the first half of 2016.

Also read: Social media brawl ends in court

Schoeman left the company on May 1, apparently after a heated argument with Serfontein. “He invited those who wanted to, to head out the door with him,” said a former employee. A number of staff members resigned in the following months.

Schoeman and Serfontein’s differences landed them in the Civil Court.

On May 26 the Gauteng High Court ordered that the two men no longer co-own BeVisible and another company, Pretzavest. Serfontein became sole director of the former and Schoeman the latter.

The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. (Image: Rekord East.)

In August the Sheriff took possession of some of BeVisible’s assets. Seven months later, on March 10, Serfontein was arrested and released on the same day. In addition to conspiracy to murder, he was also charged with crimen injuria.

Lowvelder obtained a copy of an affidavit which is part of the police docket. In it, the author’s version of how a contract killing was almost planned, is stated.

According to the affidavit, Serfontein called Schoeman “The Pest” and named his plan “Pest Control”. It is alleged that Serfontein planned to pay a Nigerian third party to “cut off Schoeman’s fingers” and rape his then-pregnant wife in front of him.

The deponent said that Serfontein had drawn his attention to a brown A5 envelope that seemed to contain a lot of cash.

The affidavit abruptly stops. Whether any money was paid or received or any killing planned, is unclear.

Mr Michael van Rensburg, Serfontein’s attorney, stated that this never happened.

He called the case against Serfontein “malicious and without any merit” and pointed out that the affidavit was based on the deponent’s suspicion only.

Serfontein called the allegations an attempt to ruin the reputation he had built up over the past 16 years.

Also read: Over 100 poaching accused in court

“The case was a departure point (by Schoeman) to extort money from Serfontein,” Van Rensburg wrote in a letter to Lowvelder.

Schoeman denied having committed extortion.

The case was postponed for further police investigation. Serfontein requested the paper not to publish until the case was concluded.
Schoeman said his legal team advised him against commenting on the matter.

Images: Facebook

Helene Eloff
Legal Adviser & Journalist

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