Girlfriend testifies in murder trial

2013-04-08 00:00

ONE of the farm workers who was allegedly killed at the behest of Midlands security company boss Rudolph Struwig and a local farmer in 2004 was involved in an ongoing labour dispute with the property owner when he died, his former girlfriend testified on Friday.

Betty Ziqubu gave evidence for the state in the high court in Pietermaritzburg in connection with the death of her boyfriend, Mandla Petros Masango, on October 5, 2004.

Ziqubu, who lived on the farm with Masango, told Acting Judge Igna Stretch and an assessor that Masango was fired from his job on November 24, 2003.

He told her that he had been dismissed because he had been accused by the farmer of stealing diesel. Ziqubu confirmed that Masango subsequently approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

He lost his case the first time, but on a second occasion, she claimed, he succeeded and said his lawyer told Masango him he “must not move” from the farm until he had been given everything that was due to him.

She disputed a suggestion by Struwig’s advocate, Brad Osborne, that Masango had resigned and was going to move off the farm.

Ziqubu said Masango told her he was “forced” to sign a letter of resignation “by the security who arrived on the farm”.

The state also called another farm worker, Christopher Hlatswayo, to testify in connection with the death of a former colleague, Simphiwe Trevor Ndlovu. He said Ndlovu had implicated someone called “Christopher” in the attack on him in June 2004.

Hlatswayo said there was no one else with the same name living on the farm and said he and Trevor were on good terms. “I didn’t kill Trevor,” he said.

The case has been adjourned until June 18.

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