Mpumalanga family finds peace as brutal killers get 30 years'

2016-08-19 06:14
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Mbombela - The family of late Mpumalanga farmer Adriaan van der Berg, who was brutally killed during a robbery in 2014, has welcomed the 30 years' imprisonment imposed on the two men responsible for the crime.

The two accused, Solomon Mabaso, 34, and his co-accused Nhlanhla Shongwe, 29, both from Matsulu near Mbombela, were sentenced by Judge Brian Mashile in the Graskop Circuit Local Division of the Eastern Circuit District Court on Thursday.

"We welcome the sentence and as a family, we are at peace that finally justice has been served. This incident has damaged our family and it has affected our mother very badly. But we are happy that finally we will find closure," said Johan van der Berg, brother of the deceased.

Johan said the family would like to thank all the people who played a vital role in the arrest and the conviction of the accused.

"At least the court has also realised the suspects really did something. We would like to thank everybody who was involved and we know there are many of them," said Johan.

The court heard that the deceased was attacked by four men at his farmhouse at Malelane on May 29, 2014. He was asleep on the sofa in his sitting room when the two accused and two other men, now deceased, gained entry through the front glass front door.

Strangled to death

Van der Berg's friend, Stephanus de Villiers, who testified he was him earlier in the day, said he was phoned early on May 30 by one of Van der Berg's workers after she discovered the house door open, with the Van der Berg lying tied up on the sofa.

De Villiers recounted that when he touched Van der Berg's body it felt cold, which indicated to him that he was dead. He said he then called the dead man's brother, Johan, and the police.

Van der Berg, who lived alone, had had his hands and legs tied and had been strangled to death with a curtain. A number of items including clothes, electric appliances, furniture and his Nissan bakkie were stolen.

On June 2, 2014 Malelane police arrested Shongwe after he was caught driving the Van der Berg's stolen vehicle. The suspect, who told police he was sent to get petrol by his two accomplices, Mabaso and a third accused, Bheki Mncina who has since passed away, led police to the two suspects' house where some of the items stolen from the farm were recovered.

Judge Mashile found the two accused guilty of robbery and murder and sentenced each of them to 25 years' imprisonment for the murder and 15 years for the robbery.

The judge ruled that 10 years of the robbery sentence will run concurrently with the murder sentence, giving the pair an effective 30 years for their crime.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime  |  farm attacks

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