Murderer tells of farmer’s last moments

2011-06-02 00:00

THE rustling of leaves underfoot alerted slain Rietvlei farmer Alan Rowe to the presence of intruders near his garage.

He had tried to speed away in reverse amid an outbreak of gunfire, the high court was told yesterday by a man who is serving a life sentence for his role in the farmer’s May 13, 2009 murder.

Sibonelo Duma, who pleaded guilty to the murder at a previous hearing, gave evidence for the state at the trial of five men whom he identified as co-perpetrators yesterday.

The accused, Zakhele Ndlela (31), Mbuso Mabaso (19), Msawakhe Khumalo (25), Zwelibuyile Mhlongo (30) and Goodenough Ngiba (27), all pleaded not guilty and claimed in statements that they were elsewhere at the time of the shooting.

However, Duma told the court that he was among a group of seven intruders, including the five accused, who entered the premises that night and planned to rob the farmer,

Another gang member waited in a getaway vehicle about a kilometre away.

When the Rowe arrived home, one of the intruders tramped on some leaves and made him “suspect something”, and Rowe quickly climbed back into his vehicle.

He reversed at high speed and the lights came on, said Duma.

He heard gunshots going off, but did not know where they were coming from or who was firing.

He then saw Mabaso — who was armed with a rifle — firing in the direction of the lights of the farmer’s vehicle as it reversed.

Earlier yesterday Rowe’s neighbour and friend, Gavin Hill, testified that Rowe had visited him the night he was murdered.

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