Hired killer’s chilling tale

2013-03-27 00:00

SECURITY company boss Rudolph Struwig stands alone in the dock for allegedly arranging the murders of two farm workers in 2004.

However, the hitman told the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday that two farmers had also been involved in ordering the killings.

The farmers’ identities are known to The Witness. However, they are not being named as they have never been charged in the matter.

Testifying at Struwig’s trial before Acting Judge Igna Stretch and an assessor yesterday was former security guard Lucky Themba Mlangeni, who was jailed for life for the murders in 2008.

Mlangeni pleaded guilty to the murders of farm employees Simphiwe Trevor Ndlovu in June 2004 and Mandla Petros Masango in Nottingham Road in October that year, as well as the attempted murder of ­Ndlovu’s son, Dennis, who survived the attack.

He said yesterday that he was remorseful for what he had done “for love of money”, and apologised to the victims’ families.

He described in detail how he shot the men.

While he never knew Trevor Ndlovu, he had spent “one to two weeks” living on the farm where Masango worked, learning his movements, before murdering him.

Mlangeni said he shot Trevor Ndlovu with an unlicensed firearm while running alongside his car as it was driven to the farm house by Dennis Ndlovu.

Struwig, boss of Mapogo A Mathamaga security company, told him the next day that Ndlovu had not died and was hospitalised, and his son was wounded.

Two weeks later Struwig reported that the “job was now done” as Ndlovu had died.

Mlangeni said he began shooting at Masango while overtaking his Mazda on the road to the second farm.

After firing five rounds, he realised he was using his own licensed gun, which “was a mistake”. Masango’s car stopped and Mlangeni could see he was bleeding from his head.

Mlangeni said he took his accomplice’s unlicensed gun and emptied the magazine into Masango’s chest. Masango had seen him coming and started screaming.

He alleged that the owners of the two farms (whom he did not identify by name) were present when the murders were planned.

He said he and two co-assassins had negotiated a price for Trevor Ndlovu’s murder with the owner of one farm.

After the killing, however, they had received only R5 000 from Struwig, who had said they “could not charge his customer the R45 000 that was agreed as it was the middle of the month and people would be suspicious”.

“He [Struwig] said the owner of the farm was his client and he paid a lot of money to join Mapogo so we could not charge him a lot of money,” said Mlangeni.

He said Struwig told him before Masango’s murder that he should “get the same as before” — R5 000.

A day after Masango’s murder, Mlangeni allegedly accompanied Struwig when he fetched a “parcel” from a farm.

Later Struwig opened the envelope and handed over the R5 000 it contained to Mlangeni and his accomplice, Rasta.

Explaining the motives for the murders, Mlangeni said Struwig took him to a farm in June 2004 where they met the owner.

The farmer said he was having a problem with a worker on the farm, Trevor Ndlovu, who had “murdered the previous owner”.

He also spoke of cows that had disappeared from the farm in a myste-rious manner.

“The owner continued to explain to the accused [Struwig] that Trevor used to be in love with the wife of the previous farmer and that she subsequently gave him [Trevor] a Toyota Camry.”

Mlangeni said Struwig had suggested that Ndlovu should be “sorted out” as he could also be dangerous to the current owner.

“We decided there in the car that Trevor should be executed or assassinated,” said Mlangeni.

He said the complaint against Masango was that he had been selling liquor illegally and had refused to leave the farm. It was arranged at a meeting with the farmer that Mlangeni would stay at the farm to observe Masango’s movements so he could be killed.

Asked by state advocate Sandra Senekal what the farmer’s attitude was to the suggestion, Mlangeni replied that he “showed no problem about what was to be done”.

The case is proceeding.

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