Farmer ‘low on funds’

2018-11-27 15:54

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A Cramond farmer who is alleged to have killed a mourner during a funeral at his farm last December, is apparently running out of cash.

Wearing his grey hair short and sporting a small beard, Edward Philip Walter Solomon (65) appeared briefly in the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday for trial.

His neat demeanor was in stark contrast to when he appeared at the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court soon after his arrest. Then he looked unkempt, with a mop of grey hair and long beard. The frail man of medium height is out on bail.

His advocate, Gerhard van der Walt, told Acting Judge Eric Jaca that he and his attorney of record were withdrawing from the case. He added that Solomon has run into financial difficulties and is in the process of selling his assets.

Asked to confirm this by the judge, Solomon craned his neck over the dock, holding his right hand around his right ear.

“I cannot hear,” he said.

His advocate intervened, saying his client has a hearing problem because of “age”. Van der Walt asked if he could repeat what the judge said.

The advocate then raised his voice, repeating what was asked. Solomon confirmed that everything was correct.

State advocate Ncedile Dunywa had no objections to the case being adjourned to March next year, just as a holding date. He said it cannot be adjourned for trial as Solomon first needs to appoint a new attorney.

Solomon is alleged to have murdered Mothi Jeffrey Ngubane on December 30.

Initially, he also faced an additional charge of attempted murder, which has subsequently been dropped.

The state alleges in its indictment that Solomon, who lived on “Craigs Farm”, confronted the Lembede family on the day of the crime.

Ngubane was among the mourners.

“Having observed that the Lembede family and the mourners were proceeding with the funeral, Solomon left for his house,” it said.

He returned armed with a firearm. Solomon then fired shots at Ngubane. He died as a result of gunshot wounds to his lungs.

Solomon then allegedly fled on foot to his house where he locked himself in until police arrived. He eventually allowed police inside and was arrested.

At the time of the shooting, a mourner, Maxwell Lembede, told The Witness that at about 12.30 pm on Saturday, he, his uncles and the “elders” were around his other brother’s coffin, when Solomon allegedly charged at them.

There were also between 150 to 200 mourners present to pay their last respects.

He alleged that Solomon began to chase them all, but he and Ngubane stayed put. Solomon then allegedly covered his firearm with his T-shirt. Lembede said he heard five shots. He added that he and his family had lived on the farm for many years.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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