Brendin Horner murder accused to be charged with stock theft in separate case

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Sekola Matlaletsa, 44, and Sekwetje Mahlamba 32, the men accused of murdering farm manager Brendin Horner.
Sekola Matlaletsa, 44, and Sekwetje Mahlamba 32, the men accused of murdering farm manager Brendin Horner.
PHOTO: Alex Mitchley/News24
  • The two men accused of murdering farm manager Brendin Horner are expected to be charged in a stock theft case that is unrelated to the Horner murder case.
  • Sekwetje Mahlamba is already facing a separate charge of stock theft. His co-accused, Sekola Matlaletsa, was convicted of stock theft in the past.
  • This new charge puts a dent in Sekwetje Mahlamba's claims that he did not have any relationship with his co-accused.

The two men accused of murdering 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner are expected to be charged for a separate case of stock theft which took place in the eastern Free State.

Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa appeared in the Senekal Magistrate's Court in the Free State on Tuesday morning where their bail application continued with the cross-examination of the investigating officer, Captain Gerhardus Myburgh.

Myburgh told the court that Mahlamba and Matlaletsa would soon be charged with stock theft in a case unrelated to the Horner murder case.

READ | Bloodstains, witnesses - bail application gives insight into case against Brendin Horner murder accused

Horner was strangled to death on a farm in Paul Roux on 1 October and police previously said it was suspected that Mahlamba and Matlaletsa were at the farm to steal livestock.

Mahlamba is currently charged in a stock theft matter and is scheduled to appear in court for that case in February 2021. He was out on bail in that case at the time Horner was killed.

Matlaletsa has a longer rap sheet that includes a previous stock theft conviction.

According to an SAP 69 report, Matlaletsa was convicted of:
  • housebreaking in 1998, for which he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment;
  • burglary in 1999, for which he was sentenced to four months' imprisonment;
  • stock theft in 2010, for which he was sentenced to six months in prison, wholly suspended; and
  • trespassing in 2011, for which he had to pay a R50 admission of guilt fine.

However, during the bail application, Matlaletsa went on record and said he was convicted of:

  • stock theft in 1986, for which he was sentenced to 18 months in prison;
  • stock theft in 1994, for which he was sentenced to four months in prison; and
  • illegally buying a pig in 2000, for which he was not sentenced to imprisonment.

Myburgh said the conviction report did not find any of the convictions he mentioned in his affidavit, which was read into the record by his Legal Aid attorney.

The emergence of this new stock theft case also puts a dent in the evidence tendered by Mahlamba, who claimed that he did not know Matlaletsa and that they were not friends.

Mahlamba told the court that apart from seeing him around in the township in Paul Roux, he had no relationship with Matlaletsa. It is also the reason why, although both men opted to use Legal Aid, they are not using the same attorney. A private attorney was briefed by Legal Aid to represent Mahlamba separately.

Three independent witnesses have provided evidence that they saw Mahlamba and Matlaletsa together.

READ | DNA samples taken from Brendin Horner’s bakkie cannot be linked to accused, court hears

The first witness told police that he saw three men walking in the veld towards the township from the direction of where Horner was murdered at around 06:00 on 2 October – the same day that Horner's body was discovered. Two of the men were identified as Mahlamba and Matlaletsa. The witness noted that Mahlamba's clothes were bloodstained.

Mahlamba previously told the court that his clothes, which were seized by police when he was arrested, were bloodstained because he slaughtered a sheep for a traditional feast in September. This alibi has been discredited by the State because the host of the feast told police that while she knew Mahlamba, he was not at the event, nor did he slaughter any animal for the feast.

Two other independent witnesses also placed both accused together at a tavern on the evening of 2 October, where, they alleged, Mahlamba and Matlaletsa were boasting about assaulting a white man on a farm.

All these allegations have been disputed by Mahlamba and Matlaletsa via their attorneys, who argued that the evidence against their clients was weak and circumstantial.

Judgment in the bail application is expected to be handed down on Thursday.

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