Ex-friend turns against Struwig

2013-06-20 00:00

A FORMER friend of murder-accused Ladysmith security boss Rudolf Struwig testified at his trial yesterday that Struwig said on various occasions he’d had two people murdered and “the state is going to bury him”.

Sybrand Kleinhans, who admitted that his relationship with Struwig had soured to the point where they each laid criminal charges against one another earlier this year, said the conversation came about last year while he and Struwig were discussing the fact that Kleinhans was facing fraud charges and debating possible sentences he could get.

He told acting judge Igna Stretch and an assessor that Struwig made similar statements on a “few” occasions.

He also alleged that he’d been asked by Struwig last year to approach a farmer in Howick and ask him for money to help fund the defence of his murder trial.

He said he had followed Struwig’s directions to the farm, but on arriving found the person he wanted was not there. He left a message and the farmer later phoned him.

Kleinhans said when he mentioned he was calling on Struwig’s behalf the farmer replied; “Oh, I thought he’d left the country. Is he still around?”

The man then said he was not in a position to help Struwig financially.

It was suggested to Kleinhans by defence advocate Brad Osborne that he’d contacted the farmer because Struwig named him as a potential buyer for a boat he wanted to sell to raise funds for his defence.

Kleinhans denied this, saying “how would I have come into contact with this [man]? … I am a stranger to this case. I don’t even know what the man looks like”.

He said his reason for deciding to testify for the state against Struwig were “blatant lies” told by Struwig, who’d laid theft charges against Kleinhans earlier this year.

Kleinhans said he had charged Struwig with assault for hitting him in his chest during an argument, and Struwig in turn charged him with theft of his property, including a BlackBerry cellphone, laptop, and portable winch.

Kleinhans maintained that he sold these items on Struwig’s instructions because Struwig needed money.

He said they’d argued in January after Struwig borrowed his Mercedes car and the vehicle was extensively damaged in a “massive” hailstorm.

Kleinhans said when he told Struwig he’d kept R6 000 from the proceeds of the sale of the goods to repair his car, Struwig assaulted him.

Kleinhans denied Osborne’s suggestion that he took the valuables from Struwig’s house without his permission while “housesitting” and then sold them.

Kleinhans also disputed that Struwig had loaned him a sum of R100 000, saying the money had been a gift from Struwig to help him to pay off the complainants to whom he owed money in relation to his fraud cases. “At the time I just thought he is a man with a good heart,” he said.

Struwig has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder. The case is proceeding.

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