Farmer who killed funeral-goer opens up about 'threats to shoot, assault and attack him'

2018-01-10 13:30
Cramond farmer says his life was in danger at the funeral but officer disputes this.

Cramond farmer says his life was in danger at the funeral but officer disputes this. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Cramond farmer Edward Solomon has portrayed himself as a victim who had no choice but to fire several shots at a “threatening” man he had feared.

Through his advocate Brad Osborne, the 65-year-old man on Tuesday described to the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court, a frenzied scene that preceded him allegedly murdering Mothi Ngubane on December 30, at his “The Crags Farm”, in Otto’s Bluff.

His version was contained in a statement read to court by Osborne.

But Warrant Officer Sibusiso Mchunu, who is opposing Solomon’s bail application, disagreed with what Solomon said. He told the court that Solomon’s life was never in danger that day.

Solomon is also charged with attempting to murder Mondli Lembethe by allegedly discharging a firearm at him.

Osborne said that on that day, Solomon heard noises from the “Lembethe” homestead and went there. He saw between 50 to 100 people. A grave was dug and the mourners were putting sticks in it.

'No permission to bury anyone'

Solomon said he told them to leave. They had not asked for permission to bury anyone.

While he was arguing with the leaders, people from the crowd became hostile and threatened him and his property.

It continued for about 15 minutes before the alleged murder victim and various other men advanced towards him.

“I was forced to back away from the group and kept on telling them to leave,” said Solomon

He said he was subjected to a barrage of threats to shoot, assault and attack him. Video footage of this had been recorded and aired on television, but it was not shown in court. Solomon described what was seen, saying he was then forced to back up into a bush.

He was pushed into a large bush and could not escape. The shooting victim had grabbed his jacket.

Various men approached him from all directions. The video clip then stops, he said. However, the men’s threats continued.

'Self-defense'

“I was eventually left with no option but to defend myself.”

He said he fired three shots when Ngubane tried to grab his firearm because he (Solomon) was scared and could not escape.

Two other men came towards him in a threatening manner and he fired two shots into the ground in front of them which caused them to stop.

He then escaped and went home where he barricaded himself.

He said the farm has been in his family’s possession since 1836 and the Lembethe family has been on the farm since 1950. The homestead they occupy was allocated to them about 25 years ago. It is close to the main house to provide each other with mutual protection.

However, he said, the relationship between them “deteriorated for many reasons”.

“Neither the Lembethe family nor the family of the deceased (Ngubane) work for me nor have any of their family members worked for me since the 1990’s.”

'Pushed away'

Mchunu said that the evidence was that Solomon told the funeral goers to stop what they were doing. The elders were against him and there was a confrontation. Solomon was pushed away.

The funeral continued. Within three to five minutes, Solomon returned and walked towards the grave and at the same time, he fired two shots.

“Most people ran away. The deceased tried to calm him (Solomon) down because he knew him from working with him before…three shots were fired at him at close range.”

The other people ran away.

Solomon then began to walk “up and down” the grave and did not allow anyone to come close to the victim until he was not moving.

He then walked to his house.

Police negotiated with him for over an hour to come out of the house, said Mchunu.

The bail application continues on Wednesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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