Farm killers deserve life terms – prosecutor

2014-10-22 17:49

The two men who murdered Ixopo farmer Peter Hackland in his home qualified for life imprisonment on two counts – he was killed during a robbery and they acted with common purpose.

Arguing on sentences for the two accused, State counsel Elsa Smith today said it was the legislature that prescribed life imprisonment for such murders.

Durban men Nkosinathi Mngadi, 29, and Sifiso Ngubane, 25, were convicted in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Their robbery conviction attracted a prescribed 15 years in jail and the assault sentence was at the judge’s discretion.

She said the other sentences should run concurrently with the life term.

Hackland, 61, was fatally shot and robbed and his daughter Louise Hartwig grievously assaulted while she was trying to protect him.

She was commended for bravery during judgment by Judge Portia Poyo-Dlwati.

Testifying in aggravation of sentence, KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union security desk manager Koos Marais said that every farm murder affected about 100 people and that such attacks had enormous consequences.

Marais said that since 2001 there had been 128 people, either farmers, family members or staff, murdered in 665 farm attacks in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said that the numbers varied from year to year and he could not say if there was a pattern in the attacks.

Farmers were vulnerable to attacks because farms were generally open, isolated and could not be walled to prevent ingress.

Many people entered farms and it was nearly impossible to verify the reasons for their presence.

Hackland’s murder left about 60 workers jobless, their families without support and his own family had to move away.

Both Mngadi and Ngubane entered the witness box to say that they were sorry for what happened.

Judge Poyo-Dlwati said that she too felt sorry for the family.

Ngubane, a barber, continued to protest his innocence and asked for another chance to support his family of three children, their three mothers, younger brothers, parents and a grandparent.

Smith said that his claim of innocence nullified his expression of sympathy, tendered after he was convicted.

She said that there were not sufficient and compelling circumstances for the court to find reasons to depart from the prescribed sentences.

They will be sentenced on October 31.

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