Bye bye bail as accused bolts

2014-05-10 00:00

A JUDGE has issued a warrant of arrest for a former high-flying Secunda businessman, Christiaan Daniel Smith (46) charged with the murder of northern KwaZulu Natal farmer and businessman Gert Uys (48), who was shot dead in May 2012.

Smith allegedly hired assailants to shoot dead Uys — to whom he allegedly owed a lot of money — on May 31, 2012.

The killers robbed Uys of a Toyota Landcruiser, a .38 special revolver, ammunition, two BlackBerry cellphones, a Rolex wristwatch, a laptop computer and R18 510 in cash.

On Monday, Smith failed to appear in the high court at Madadeni where he and his co-accused, Andries Zulu (30), were scheduled to go on trial for the murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Smith was on R30 000 bail.

Judge Fikile Mokgohloa issued a warrant for Smith’s arrest and postponed the case until May 19 while police hunt for the missing man.

Uys, a wildlife farmer and owner of the Thangami Safari Spa, was murdered on May 31, 2012 at another farm, Rots Park at Gluckstadt in the Vryheid area.

Smith was among three men subsequently arrested in the Secunda area and charged with his murder.

The trial of one of the accused, Snenhlanhla Mbatha (33), was separated and he pleaded guilty to the farmer’s murder and robbery. He was jailed for 38 years on August 29, 2012.

The state alleges in the latest indictment against Zulu and Smith, that Smith owed Uys “a lot of money” and decided to have him killed.

To achieve this he enlisted the services of Zulu, who in turn recruited Hercules Mbatha, and assisted them to get firearms.

On May 31, 2012 (a Thursday), Smith allegedly met the assailants near Secunda and drove them to where Uys lived.

It was early evening when the attackers struck and confronted Uys inside the house.

They shot Uys with a shotgun and he died on the scene of a gunshot wound to his chest.

Afterwards the attackers ransacked the house. The killers allegedly drove away in a Landcruiser that was on loan to Uys at the time. However, they abandoned the vehicle due to a punctured tyre.

After the murder the state alleges Smith met up with the assailants, but they agreed that it would be safer for them to leave the area separately.

Some time later Smith allegedly paid them an unspecified sum for the “hit”.

Weekend Witness was told that Smith previously owned shares in Malokiba Valves in Secunda, and worked for Sasol. He and Uys were reportedly also in a business partnership and jointly owned the building from which the company operated.

However at the time of his disappearance Smith was believed to be unemployed.

He was divorced from his wife with whom he has two adult daughters.

Police have his passport.

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