I acted in self-defence - Murder-accused farmer admits he shot one of the Coka brothers

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  • Five men are appearing in the Piet Retief Magistrate's Court in connection with the killing of brothers Zenzele and Mgcini Coka in Mkhondo.
  • On Tuesday, the court heard one of the brothers shot in the direction of one of the farmers and his son.
  • The farmer told the court he believed his actions were not untoward.

The Piet Retief Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday that one of the five men accused of killing the Coka brothers in Mpumalanga in April fired a shot in the direction of one of the brothers.

Applying for bail, Orchard Klingenberg, through his lawyer, submitted an affidavit before Magistrate Simon Fankomo, saying he had acted in self-defence when he fired his gun.

Klingenberg appeared before Magistrate Fankomo alongside his co-accused, Danie Malan, Cornelius Greyling, Ignitius Steinberg and Senzele Yende. They face charges of murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping following the death of brothers Mgcini and Zenzele Coka.

The brothers were shot and killed during an altercation on Pampoenkraal farm on 9 April.

Klingenberg submitted that he had acted in self-defence when he fired shots on the day.

The farmer said he did not plan to shoot but acted because he saw he was in danger.

WATCH | Mpumalanga police disperse protesters as farmers deny killing brothers

Klingenberg said after receiving a message on WhatsApp informing him that farmworkers at Pampoenkraal were being intimidated, he and his son went to the farm. He claimed they found people demonstrating. He also said they found people assaulting a farmer known as "Mr Potgieter".

After moving to another area, he saw one of the Coka brothers getting out of one of two vehicles at the scene, before shouting "Which [one] of you dogs assaulted black people?" at a group of farmers.

Klingenberg said he heard what the man was saying because he understands isiZulu.

He said the man tried to approach the farmers but the farmworkers attempted to stop him. A verbal altercation ensued.

The two cars then drove off.

Soon after the vehicles left, Klingenberg said he heard from one of the farmers that Potgieter had requested assistance because the demonstrators had become aggressive.

After arriving on the scene where Potgieter was, Klingenberg said he saw an unknown person assaulting Malan in the face using a metal pipe. Klingenberg said he was with his son at the time.

Another man who looked like one of the brothers was allegedly hitting another farmer on the head using a wooden stick. The farmer collapsed.

A gunshot went off but it was unclear who discharged it, Klingenberg told the court.

The five accused appear in the Mkhondo Magistrates Court in connection with the murder of Coka brothers.

Klingenberg said he had seen one of the brothers, who he described as "deceased one" (understood to be Mgcini Coka), brandishing a gun and firing it.

The farmer said he reacted when he saw the gunman was shooting in the direction of his son.

"As deceased one reached the rear end of the vehicle, he turned in my direction and fired at least one shot in my direction. By then, I (had) already taken my firearm from the holster, and I instinctively fired in the direction of deceased one.

"At such point in time, I was not even sure if I actually wounded him, and if so, where on his body he was wounded. I saw him collapse. The firing immediately stopped. I am aware that I fired two shots."

Klingenberg said he did not observe the second brother during the shooting but only saw him lying on the ground later.

The farmer said he was confident he did not shoot at the second deceased. 

Klingenberg said:

At all relevant times hereto, I acted in self-defence and also in the course of protection of others, including my son who was exposed to the firing action.

The farmer said he believed he acted with justification, although he dreaded the consequences.

He pleaded for his release, saying he would not flee and would stand trial.

Meanwhile, Steinberg denied the charges against him, saying he was not at the scene when the two deceased were killed.

The bail hearing continues.

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