Farm worker death: Security boss acted in a criminal manner, magistrate says

2018-01-15 19:44
Aron Mutavhatsindi, 42, who was shot and killed by a security guard near Matshelapad. (Supplied)

Aron Mutavhatsindi, 42, who was shot and killed by a security guard near Matshelapad. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - "Did he kill him because he was black?"

This was one of the questions Magistrate Abdul Khan said he had to analyse before he made the decision to grant Razovox security company owner, Petrus William Johannes Durant bail of R10 000 on Monday.

Durant appeared in a packed Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday.

He was arrested after he allegedly shot and killed farm worker Aron Mutavhatsindi in an open field near the informal settlement of Matshelapad, outside Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, on January 6.

Durant had worked for the South African Police Service for 13 years and resigned in 1997. He has been the owner of Razovox for the past eight years.

Khan said that racism was a cancer that needed to be removed from society.

"I cannot find that the accused person [Durant] acted racist, he acted in a criminal manner. A racism crime is an offence that is committed purely because of your race. We should not paint all crimes as acts of racism."

READ: Man gets bail of R10 000 in Krugersdorp farm worker killing

Khan also changed the offence from schedule 6 to schedule 5.

In Durant's affidavit, read out by his lawyer advocate Deon Pool, he claimed that he had received a call that Mutavhatsindi entered the property of the farm and threatened a tractor driver with a knife and stole the tractor.

The 42-year-old, who worked at the Bartlet Poultry Farm, was driving the tractor on the N14 towards Tarlton.

According to Durant's affidavit, Mutavhatsindi was driving dangerously and tried to push his security officials off the road "on at least three occasions".

Durant said he later joined his employee and drove behind the tractor.

"I called 10111 to report the situation and requested assistance, but was told to hold on despite the urgency. The deceased [Mutavhatsindi] ignored all attempts from me and Shaun to stop him."

"I hooted at him and screamed at him and suggested to him to stop the tractor. When I hooted at him, he looked back, I tried to pass him and he pushed me off the road. At one point the deceased [Mutavhatsindi] pushed my vehicle to the opposite side of the road."

Shots fired at the tractor

He further stated that he phoned the owner of the tractor asking for permission to fire shots at the tyres to slow it down. Durant fired six shots at the tractor.

Duran stated that Mutavhatsindi was a danger to other road users – he acted and fired two more shots at the tractor, which "slumped to the right side". The tractor then came to a halt.

He called 10111 for assistance. He stated he was instructed by a warrant officer to leave the scene because he was angering the crowd.

One of the security vehicles was overturned and Durant left the scene to the Tarlton police station.

Pool told the court his client was "a simple man, doing a simple job, that had unfortunate consequences".

He also told the court that there was no explanation from the investigation officer as to how Mutavhatsindi got from the egg farm to the informal settlement.

ALSO READ: Krugersdorp farm worker killing: Angry members of public disrupt court proceedings

State prosecutor Rungulani Mhlongo argued that Durant was a former police officer and knew what steps to take, but still proceeded to shoot.

Mhlongo added that Durant showed a degree of violence by firing more than eight shots. He also told the court that the community was angered by the incident.

"Why did he flee the scene and run to the police station? This is a clear indication that his life is at risk."

Earlier, chaos erupted when members of the public – some clad in ANC, EFF and PAC t-shirts disrupted court proceedings.

One person held a placard that read: "No bail or else."

One man shouted: "If the deceased was white, he wouldn't have acted like that."

The matter was postponed to April 13 for further investigation.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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