Rowe Murder: employee tells court remorse drove him to help police

2011-06-03 00:00

A FORMER employee of slain ­Rietvlei farmer Alan Rowe, who is currently serving a life sentence for his role in the farmer’s murder on May 13, 2009, told the high court yesterday he co-operated with police after his arrest because he was remorseful.

Sibonelo Duma, who admitted in evidence that he was behind the plan to rob Rowe, was cross-examination yesterday by advocate Phumlani Bhengu appearing for five accused on trial for the farmer’s murder.

He told the court he assisted police and undertook a pointing out at the murder scene because he felt remorse. Duma maintains that he was not armed but had accompanied the gang to “point out” where to go on the farm.

He said six of the gang had been armed with firearms, including an R5 rifle.

Duma insisted in his evidence yesterday that the five accused, Zakhele Ndlela (31), Mbuso Mabaso (19), Msawakhe Khumalo (25), Zwelibuyile Mhlongo (30) and Goodenough Ngiba (27) were among the perpetrators.

The five have all pleaded not guilty, claiming that they were elsewhere at the time of the shooting.

Duma said that when the farmer arrived and alighted from his car one of them trampled on some leaves and made a noise. Rowe got back in his car and reversed away, switching on his headlights.

He said he heard gunfire break out but did not know who was shooting.

Duma said as he fled he heard someone saying words to the effect; “Why are you grabbing me?”, and then another three gunshots rang out.

He later learned that the person who cried out was accused four on trial, Zwelibuyile Mhlongo.

Mhlongo has denied the allegation.

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