Stud farmers to testify for Struwig

2013-10-04 00:00

FORMER security company boss Rudolph Struwig plans to call two KwaZulu-Natal stud farm owners to testify in his murder trial.

The two will be called when his trial resumes in the Pietermaritzburg high court on March 31 next year.

The owners of the two farms were also implicated by state witnesses in the alleged conspiracy to murder farm workers Simphiwe Trevor Ndlovu and Mandla Petros Masango in the Midlands area in June and October 2004.

However, they have not been charged with any crime.

Yesterday, Struwig’s advocate Brad Osborne said the farmers are “willing and available” to give evidence for the defence. However, they had indicated via their legal representative that they want to see a full transcript of all the evidence led in the case so far, before taking the witness stand.

Osborne said Struwig was supposed to have arranged to obtain a transcript of the evidence after the case was adjourned in June this year but, due to a change in his financial circumstances, had not done so.

He said one of the farm owners had since agreed to pay for the transcript, but it would take time to obtain.

Osborne said it would not be fair to expect the farm owners to testify without having perused the details of all the allegations that have been levelled against them by witnesses during the trial.

“The reality is that there is a real danger that they could face charges arising from the allegations before court,” he said.

He further submitted their evidence was vital to Struwig’s defence.

The application for a postponement was opposed by state advocate Sandra Senekal who said the defence had had ample opportunity to prepare. She said the trial had been dragging on for seven months and should be finalised.

After considering the arguments, Acting Judge Igna Stretch agreed to adjourn the case, but warned Struwig that the adjournment was final.

Under cross examination by the state, Struwig yesterday again categorically denied any involvement in, or knowledge of, the planning and execution of the murders. He denied that he ever conspired with the farm owners to kill the men because they posed a “problem” on the farms.

He alleges that three of his former guards had falsely implicated him. They testified that he gave the orders for the murders, and provided them with a firearm, vehicle, petrol money and airtime to carry them out.

Struwig suggested their motive could be “greed” or to get back at him because he had fired them.

One of them, Lucky Mlangeni, who is serving a life term for his role in the murder, admitted in his evidence that he had tried to blackmail one of the farm owners (from prison) to pay him R1 million to keep the farmer’s name out of the case.

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