Stefan Smit murder: Wife, co-accused face more charges relating to murder weapon

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Zurenah Smit, 54, appears in connection with the murder of her Stellenbosch wine farmer husband Stefan Smit in June 2019
Zurenah Smit, 54, appears in connection with the murder of her Stellenbosch wine farmer husband Stefan Smit in June 2019
Tammy Petersen
  • Zurenah Smit and Derek Sait have been charged with theft as well as illegal gun and ammunition possession.
  • The additional charges come after two guns believed to have been stolen from Smit's safe in 2018 were found upon the arrest of the three suspects for his murder.
  • It is believed one of these stolen guns was used to kill him on 2 June 2019.

Stellenbosch wine farmer Stefan Smit's widow, Zurenah, and the former member of his security team, Derek Sait, were charged on Friday shortly before their appearance for his murder with theft as well as for the illegal possession of guns and ammunition for allegedly stealing two of his firearms.

Although the details were not discussed during proceedings in the Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court, News24 reliably understands the additional charges come after two guns believed to have been stolen from Smit's safe in 2018 were found after the arrest of the three suspects for the vintner’s murder.

It is believed one was used to kill him on 2 June 2019, although both had been at the scene when armed suspects entered Louiesenhof through an unlocked door while the Smits were having dinner with a friend.

Smit was shot dead while the guest and Zurenah escaped unscathed during the apparent house robbery in which only two cellphones and a handbag were stolen.

Sait, Damon and Sait's brother, Bradley van Eyslend, the head of security, had all been on duty that night. None had supposedly heard the gunshots that night despite being in an adjacent room.

According to the State, a couple, who lived in a cottage about 15m from the main house, had heard the shots.

It was also said there was no footage of the alleged perpetrators entering the farm, despite a number of CCTV cameras being among the extensive security measures in place.

According to Sait, Smit had been aware there had been many blind spots in his camera network.

The security team was employed by the couple after the occupation in 2018 of Watergang, which Smit's family owned via a trust.

It was occupied by backyarders from nearby Kayamandi who renamed it Azania. Following an application for an interdict to remove them, the municipality eventually bought the land from the owners for R45 710 000.

During cross-examination in Sait's bail application on Friday, prosecutor Lecardo Davids put it to him that Damon had in a confession to the police said the two of them had fired the shots which killed Smit that night.

This version, Davids continued, was corroborated by a Section 204 witness.

He did not know the details of this confession, Sait responded, and although he had his suspicions, he would not speculate who he thought this witness could be.

ALSO READ | Stellenbosch 'Azania' land leader gunned down outside his home

Sait denied the State's version that Smit had been murdered at the house as it would be "too messy to take him out elsewhere".

Davids also questioned why specific reference was made during his testimony the police had not tested their hands for gunshot residue that night, putting it to him he and his accomplices had worn latex gloves during the crime and Sait had used his knowledge as a former police detective this would be what the investigating team would be looking for.

The prosecutor further expressed concern that Sait, a registered private investigator, would be able to trace individuals on the State's witness list. Sait, in turn, claimed this would serve no purpose.

The State maintained it had an "extremely strong case" against the three. According to Davids, Smit's murder had been financially driven, with each of the accused promised R2 million and part of the farm.

Sait dismissed it as "a whole lot of polony".

The bail application continues on 23 December.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
How has the delay in schools' opening impacted your life?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It's a disaster! We're struggling to manage work and kids at home
40% - 1188 votes
It's a struggle, but we learnt lessons from last year's closures
19% - 572 votes
It's a relief, this second wave is bad and kids need to be at home
40% - 1184 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo