Little left of illegal hunters, court hears
Pretoria - There was so little left of two men killed while hunting illegally that no proper funeral could be held for them, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.
This the testimony of Captain Nick Pitsoane, the investigating officer in the deaths of Morris Morua, 36, and Zacharia Leso, 34.
He said the only human remains found on the game farm of Douw de Beer, near Boschkop, outside Pretoria, in April 2004 consisted of 10 small bones.
This was not enough for a funeral.
De Beer, 51, and his 19-year-old son Dylan have pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder and a charge of stealing Morua's cellphone.
De Beer pleaded guilty to a charge of defeating the ends of justice by burning the bodies of the victims.
He said in a statement that he had been shocked on seeing the bodies and had decided to burn them to protect his son, who was at that stage still a minor, from being arrested.
Dylan admitted to shooting the men, but said in a statement that he had acted in self-defence because a group of illegal hunters had fired shots at him.
Pitsoane said he could find no trace of other people allegedly involved in the shoot-out.
He said a 9mm magazine found at the scene was traced back to Morua's registered 9mm pistol, but that the police could find no trace of the firearm, although they found ammunition in his safe.
They could also find no trace of Morua's cellphone, which was allegedly thrown into a dam.
Pitsoane said he was aware that hunting was allowed on tribal land near De Beer's farm, but that hunters first had to apply for permits.
Leso's nephew Poppy Leso testified that his uncle had told him he was going to look for cattle with Morua when he left home on his donkey cart that Saturday.
He later found the donkey cart outside a cattle camp, but his uncle never returned home.
Jacob Morua also testified that his uncle, who was in the army, had left in his camouflage uniform that day to search for cattle, but never returned.
Counsel for De Beer and his son said they would apply for a discharge on the murder and theft counts on Thursday.