Killer: Farmers telling ‘blue lies’

2013-04-03 00:00

TWO KwaZulu-Natal Midlands farmers who have been implicated in the assassination of two farm workers in 2004, deny any involvement in the conspiracy to kill the men, the Pietermaritzburg high court was told yesterday.

But the self-confessed killer of the victims dismissed these claims during his cross examination before Acting Judge Igna Stretch and an assessor yesterday as “blue lies”.

He said the farmers just “want to defend themselves”.

Lucky Themba Mlangeni is currently serving two life sentences for the murder of Simphiwe Trevor Ndlovu and attempted murder of his son, Dennis, in June 2004; and the murder of Mandla Petros Masango in October 2004. He pleaded guilty to the charges in 2008.

Now giving evidence for the state at the trial of his former Ladysmith based security boss, Rudolph Struwig, he testified that he’d carried out the murders at the behest of Struwig and the owners of the farms where the victims worked, who paid for the “hits”.

Mlangeni alleged he and his accomplices were paid a total of R5 000 for each assassination.

He alleged that in the case of Ndlovu he and two accomplices negotiated a fee of R45 000 personally with the farmer, but after the killing, Struwig had said they could not charge his client so much money and paid them only R5 000.

Under cross examination by defence advocate, Brad Osborne, yesterday, Mlangeni said that when they asked for R45 000 the farmer “had no problem”, but said he could not draw the money from the bank because that would alert the police, and had said he would pay the money from his businesses.

When it was suggested to Mlangeni by Osborne, that both farmers deny they ever attended meetings to discuss the murders, or paid for the assassinations, he responded that they were lying to protect themselves.

Osborne said Masango’s employer even denied that he was ever a customer of Struwig or his company, Mapogo.

Cross examining Mlangeni yesterday, Osborne suggested the motives Mlangeni had suggested for the murders were non-existent.

He suggested to Mlangeni that the new owner of the farm where Trevor Ndlovu worked had a good relationship with Ndlovu; had trusted him with the day-to-day running of the farm which represented a “weekend retreat” to him, was busy building him a new home and even planned to establish a restaurant to showcase Ndlovu’s culinary skills.

Mlangeni replied that he knew nothing about this. He again confirmed that the motives put forward by Struwig and the farmer at a meeting were that Ndlovu was suspected of murdering the previous farm owner; was in love with the previous owner’s wife, had been given a car by her, as well as a problem over stock that had gone missing from the farm.

When Osborne suggested to him that the previous farmer was not murdered, but died of a stroke, Mlangeni replied: “I don’t know about that. What was explained to us by Struwig and the farmer was what I have explained to the court”.

He said Struwig was the person who’d suggested that Trevor Ndlovu be killed because he was dangerous and might also murder the new owner. Mlangeni said he was told Masango had to be killed because he was suspected of theft and had been dismissed, but refused to leave the farm.

Osborne suggested that this motive too was incorrect. According to the farmer, the dispute with Masango had been resolved, he’d resigned and was in the process of leaving the farm when he was killed, he said.

The case is proceeding.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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