KZN farm owners paid for murder

2014-07-22 00:00

A HIGH court judge has been asked to find that two KwaZulu-Natal stud farm owners paid for the murders of two “troublesome” workers in 2004.

The allegation is part of the state’s case against former KZN security company owner, Roelf Struwig, who has denied any involvement in the ­execution-style murders of Mandla Petros Masango at Rathmor Stud on October 5, 2004, and Simphiwe Trevor Ndlovu at St Ives Stud on June 10, 2004.

Struwig is also charged with the attempted murder of Ndlovu’s son, Dennis, who was travelling with his father when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle at the entrance to the stud farm.

Yesterday, Judge Igna Stretch questioned the way the police investigation was handled and said the fact that the farmers implicated in the case had not been charged alongside Struwig “doesn’t make sense”.

A part owner of Rathmor Stud, Michael McHardy, gave evidence last week denying any involvement in the alleged crimes and testified he did not know Struwig and had no prior dealings with him.

State advocate, Sandra Senekal told the court that although the state accepted McHardy was a “good witness” he would not have come to court and implicated himself.

Struwig’s legal aid defence attorney, Pauline Andrews said yesterday the former owner of St Ives Stud, Adrian Wingfield had also said he was prepared to testify for the defence, but when the trial resumed this month he could not be located.

It was possible that he was still abroad where he had been receiving medical treatment, she added.

Senekal urged Judge Stretch to accept the evidence of various state witnesses who testified that Struwig gave the instructions to carry out the murders at the behest of his clients, being the owners of the two farms.

One of the main state witnesses in the case was Lucky Mlangeni, a former employee of Struwig and Mapogo security company, who is serving two life sentences after pleading guilty in 2008 to carrying out both assassinations.

He said he acted on Struwig’s orders and that he and the other killers received payment from the farmers.

Andrews argued that Mlangeni might have been ordered by someone other than Struwig to carry out the murders. She said Struwig testified that there was “bad blood” between him and Mlangeni and some of the other state witnesses which could motivate them to falsely implicate him.

Judgment is expected this Friday.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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