'He hates black people' - investigating officer cites racism as motive for Stompiesfontein farm murder

Garry Wiblin and his co-accused Dennis Grose who is also his fiancé’s father stand in the Delmas Regional Court dock. They are accused of killing a man on a farm before throwing his body over a bridge. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Garry Wiblin and his co-accused Dennis Grose who is also his fiancé’s father stand in the Delmas Regional Court dock. They are accused of killing a man on a farm before throwing his body over a bridge. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

"He hates black people." 

That was the motive put forward by the investigating officer in the Delmas Regional Court on Wednesday when asked why Garry Wiblin would have murdered Doctor Masilela on Stompiesfontein farm in Mpumalanga.

Colonel Difaga Molope was called to testify in the bail application of Wiblin, 36, and co-accused Dennis Grose, 67, who is his fiancé's father. 

Both men have been accused of assaulting Masilela before murdering him and dumping his body on the N17 near Delmas on June 17. 

During cross-examination, defence attorney for the accused, Christo van As, asked Molope what their motive for the murder would be. 

"The motive, especially accused number one, is because he hates black people," Molope said. 

Van As cast doubt on this answer, saying there was no mention of this in any of the witness statements. 

Molope defended his allegation, saying that this was a racially motivated case because Masilela and his friend, who were caught on the farm, were not in possession of any beans or mielies. 

He further said that none of the witness statements had indicated that the accused had confiscated produce from the two men caught on the farm. 

Molope added that Wiblin’s previous conviction for assault with intent to do grievious bodily harm was as a result of Wiblin beating a black man for looking at a white woman. 

Van As spent most of the cross-examination focusing on the statement by the only eyewitness in the case, Stompiesfontein farm manager Dawie Lecordeur. 

'Shift the blame'

Lecordeur admitted to driving over a person on the farm, who has now been identified as Masilela. 

He only confessed to this when the community confronted him in July. The community then handed him over to police. 

Lecordeur has since turned State witness and alleges that he witnessed Wiblin shooting Masilela. Charges have been dropped against Lecordeur. 

However, it has since emerged that, in Lecordeur’s statement, he said he had heard a gunshot and that, when he turned around, he had seen Wiblin with a firearm in his hand. 

But in his Section 204 witness statement, he contends that he saw Wiblin shoot Masilela between the eyes. 

"Lecordeur made these statements, implicating the two accused to exonerate himself, to shift the blame," Van As said. 

Molope also conceded that there was no witness to describe how the body was removed from the scene and dumped off a bridge onto the N17 highway. 

The placement of the gunshot was also in conflict with the post-mortem results, which indicate that Masilela was shot in the temple near the ear. 

The court further heard, after questions were posed by Magistrate Jongilizwe Dumehleli, that autopsies were conducted on Masilela. 

DNA analysis

The first autopsy found the cause of death was as a result of being run over by a car, while the second revealed that there was a gunshot wound to Masilela’s head. 

News24 previously reported that blood stains were found in Wiblin’s bakkie, although Molope did not specify if they were found inside or on the back of the bakkie. 

He added that they were currently doing DNA analysis to see if the blood matched that of Masilela. 

The State alleges that Masilela's body was removed from the farm, after he was shot on June 17, and thrown over a bridge into the N17 about 40km from Stompiesfontein. 

Molope also testified that blood stains had been found on top of the bridge and that police had been alerted to the body lying in the middle of the road because a vehicle had overturned after hitting the body around 22:30 on June 17. 

Masilela’s family opened a missing persons case later in June. 

Molope also testified that no cartridges or projectiles had been searched for on the farm, nor had a search warrant been obtained to search through the homes of the accused. 

The matter has been postponed to August 16 for legal arguments.

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