Assasin fingers farmer, boss

2008-11-04 00:00

A farm security company boss and two farmers have been fingered in evidence in the Pietermaritzburg High Court by a hired assassin as having been behind the contract murders of two employees at stud farms in the KZN midlands in 2004.

The allegations were made by Lucky Themba Mlangeni (35) of Nelspruit, who was found guilty by acting Judge Nompumelelo Radebe and two assessors yesterday of the murders of Simphiwe Trevor Ndlovu at St Ives Farm in Howick on June 10, 2004, and of Mandla Petros Masango at Rathmor Stud Farm at Nottingham Road on October 5, 2004.

He pleaded guilty to the charges and will be sentenced today.

State advocate Suhana Singh has asked the court to impose a life term on Mlangeni in respect of each of the murders, and submitted that he had acted as a “mercenary” for monetary gain.

His legal aid attorney, Zuki Diyasi pleaded with the court to show him leniency. She said he had made a clean breast of his crimes, had shown remorse and was prepared to testify for the state against anyone else who may be charged in connection with the crimes in future.

Mlangeni said in his plea he carried out the murders at the behest of Roelf Struwig, who ran a business called Mapogo Amatamaha, which supplied security guards for farms in KZN. “Roelf told me that there was a white man who was our client who had a problem with a person who is residing on his farm.

“The client’s farm is called St Ives. This client had information that this person had killed the previous owner of the farm. I found out that the name of this person was Trevor. Also, that the previous farmer’s wife had then given Trevor the previous farmer’s Toyota Camry.

“Roelf took me to this farm where he convinced the client to have Trevor killed. Trevor was a manager on the client’s farm.”

He said he met Struwig and two others — Edward and Themba — in Struwig’s office to discuss how Trevor was to be killed. It was decided that Mlangeni would carry out the killing.

On the day of the murder, Struwig gave him a firearm, an airtime voucher, petrol money and a white Bantam vehicle to use.

He described how they waited in ambush for the victim. “When he came in the motor vehicle I approached him with the firearm in my hand … I pointed the firearm at him and fired two shots at his torso.”

Afterwards he phoned Struwig and told him “the work had been done”. Mlangeni alleged that the client had been willing to pay R45 000 for the murder, but since he was a client, they were to be paid R5 000. He said that Struwig fetched the money from the farmer and paid them. “We then shared the money between the three of us.”

Regarding the second murder at Rathmor Stud, Mlangeni said the farm owner was a client who spoke to Struwig about a “problem” on his farm.

“The problem was a person who did not want to move from his farm. The person sold liquor illegally.”

Once again he and Struwig and a man named Rasta” met to plan how Mandla was to be killed.

Struwig again gave him airtime vouchers, petrol money and a grey Bantam van. He picked up Rasta and they drove to the farm. Mandla’s red Mazda was parked outside.

“When the vehicle drove off we followed. We then drove parallel to it. I had Rasta’s pistol in my hand. I fired about five times … I phoned Roelf and told him that the work had been done. He told us that the farmer would pay us R5 000. He then took us to the farm where he went inside the house and returned and drove to his home where he gave us the money, which Rasta and I shared,” Mlangeni said.

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