Family put faith in justice system after alleged killers abandon bail

2014-03-13 00:00

THE traumatised family of slain Richmond couple Eckhardt (77) and Elizabeth Schutte (66), and their son Lutz (33), are putting their faith and trust in the justice system to ensure that the killers are brought to book.

This was according to family spokesperson Karen Lowe yesterday, after the family learnt that the three alleged killers — Zamo Maduna (19), an employee of the Schuttes, Siphesihle Vukuza Ngubane (20) and a 17-year-old — had abandoned their applications for bail in the Richmond Magistrate’s Court.

The Witness confirmed from sources close to the investigation that the trio have given their full co-operation to police and have indicated that they want to plead to the charges they face in the high court.

Investigators remain hopeful that this will happen once they have finalised consultations with their lawyers from the Legal Aid Board.

Lowe said the Schutte family would welcome a quick resolution to the case.

“Obviously, we hope that the perpetrators will take responsibility so that the family can get closure and move on with their lives. We are putting our faith and trust in the justice system,” she said.

Lowe said that it would be traumatic for the family to have to confront the details of the murder and robbery again “two years or so down the line” if the case goes to trial.

She said the family are still far too distraught to attend court proceedings, but receive regular updates on the progress of the case.

The investigating officer, Sergeant Sandile Goodenough Magubane, who was to have given evidence opposing bail yesterday, confirmed that all three accused had abandoned their bid for bail.

The trio again appeared in camera to protect the identity of the juvenile.

A fourth accused, Njabulo Zuma (20) — who is charged only with possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of a firearm in the wake of the murders — will proceed with an application for bail on March 19.

Meanwhile, ANC and Cosatu supporters in Richmond yesterday added their voice to the anger expressed over the March 2 murders.

A group of ANC protesters — carrying banners with slogans including “We cannot tolerate the killing of old people of Richmond” and “Let them rot in jail” — toyi-toyied on the road and in the grounds of the magistrate’s court while waiting for the suspects to appear.

ANC Richmond official Msizi Mkhize said they were present to “say no” to bail for the killers of the Schuttes.

“We don’t know the victims, but we are against what these people have done. We are concerned about crime levels, even though we are happy with the progress that the police are making,” he said.

Richmond Cosatu secretary Samora Ndlovu said although the Schuttes were not known to them, Richmond is a small town and everyone was concerned about crime.

Farmer Mike Spark described Richmond as “the Wild West”.

“In the village, I think there are two or three housebreakings a day,” he said.

Spark said he was also concerned about ongoing farm attacks throughout the rest of KwaZulu-Natal.

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