Life sentence for 'evil' killing of farmer
Pretoria - A Soshanguve man who left more than 80 farm workers without jobs and homes when he murdered a Brits farmer two years ago was sentenced to life imprisonment by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
Sentencing Robert Mike Kgaphola, 34, for the murder of vegetable farmer Jacobus Frederick van Staden, 60, on his farm Kleinfontein near Brits in March 2010, Judge Mahomed Ismail said the accused had no remorse for his "evil" deeds.
A second accused, John Mapea of Mamelodi, died of natural causes before the trial started.
Van Staden and his wife Helena were in their bedroom when a gang of robbers invaded their home late at night, after first poisoning their dog.
They believed he was about to pay wages and that there was a lot of money on the farm. When the couple tried to block the bedroom door, the robbers fired shots through the door, hitting Van Staden in the chest.
He managed to fire several shots at their attackers, but missed.
The robbers made off only with Van Staden’s knife, given to him as a gift. Van Staden was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital.
His farm had since been put on the market, leaving more than 80 workers without an income or home.
Judge Ismail said the manner in which Kgaphola and his co-accused invaded the Van Staden home indicated they were hell-bent on achieving their objectives.
"The alarm was triggered when you entered the premises, but you continued with your actions which culminated in the death of the deceased... The manner in which the dog was killed bears testimony to the fact that your actions were planned and did not occur on the spur of the moment.”
The judge said Kgaphola had never shown remorse. He not only took the life of another human being, but also created unemployment.
Van Staden had been a compassionate employer who provided housing for his employees. One of his workers described him as their father, Judge Ismail said.
Kgaphola was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder. He received a further 18 years and six months for robbery with aggravating circumstances, malicious damage to property for killing the dog, and for the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. All sentences would run concurrently with the life sentence.
Speaking outside the court, Van Staden’s wife and three sons said they were satisfied justice had been done.