Winnie Rust murder case postponed

Nigel Plaatjies and Johannes Plaatjies at an earlier court appearance. (Tammy Petersen, News24)
Nigel Plaatjies and Johannes Plaatjies at an earlier court appearance. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Cape Town - The case against two men accused of murdering Afrikaans author Winnie Rust was postponed in the Wellington Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Promising athlete Nigel Plaatjies, 19, and his uncle Johannes Plaatjies appeared before Magistrate Brenda Mpako on charges of robbery and murder.

The matter was postponed to Friday due to the unavailability of Nigel's attorney Paul Marais.

In November, Magistrate Alvin Saptoe dismissed his bail application for a second time, saying his testimony had left him in a worse position than before.

Everything indicated the teenager was involved and he did not hesitate to shift blame, the magistrate said.

In his most recent ruling, Saptoe said he found Nigel's version of being forced into the robbery doubtful.

The teenager had pleaded not guilty to the killing Rust in her Uitsig, Wellington, home on May 11.

Johannes has yet to plead.

Rust's husband Dr Manie Rust, 87, found her body on the kitchen floor when he was awoken by the bell at the gate ringing at 15:30 that day.

She had injuries to her face. She had been strangled and her hands and feet were bound.

Strong case

According to Nigel’s initial statement to police, he was forced to take part in the robbery at Rust's home as his uncle owed a drug lord money.

In June, Saptoe ruled that the State had a strong prima facie case against the two.

Neither gave oral evidence in their first bail attempt. In his second attempt, Nigel told the court that he walked in on the robbery. He said he had an appointment to see Rust to discuss her paying for him to get his driver's licence.

She had been paying for his sports activities and school fees since he had been in Grade 7 and the athletics star regularly visited her home.

Plaatjies' mother works for Rust's daughter.

He said four armed men, including his uncle, were in the house busy stealing. He was allegedly forced to take part.

Laptops, a handbag, bank cards, and a cellphone were taken. Rings from Rust’s hand were stolen.

Nigel had no prior convictions. His uncle, however, had a string of crimes to his name, including a conviction for housebreaking, eight for theft, two for assault, and two for drunk driving.

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