Senekal murder case witness received death threats

Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetja Mahlamba in the dock at the Senekal magistrate’s court. The two men face murder charges for the killing of farm manager Brendin Horner.
Image: Tankiso Makhetha

A brother-in-law of one of the two men accused of murdering Brendin Horner at a Paul Roux farm allegedly called and threatened one of the witnesses in the case.

This was revealed during the bail application of Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetja Mahlamba in the Senekal magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

Without revealing the name of the brother-in-law, Capt Gerhardus Myburgh told the court while being cross examined that Matlaletsa’s brother-in-law allegedly threatened one of the witnesses.

He told the court he did not wish to disclose the identity of the person who allegedly threatened the witness because investigations were currently at an early and sensitive stage.

Before the hearing resumed, Myburgh said he had received a call from the witness, who told him she had received death threats over the weekend.

“Yesterday morning I received a call from the witness. She raised a concern that she was in Phuthaditjhaba (QwaQwa) for a funeral on Saturday and received threats that if she continued to give statements to police, her life would be in danger and she wouldn’t see December,” Myburgh told the court.

“We are concerned for her safety and we are working towards getting her into a witness protection programme,” Myburgh said.

The police had at least two witnesses who placed the accused at the scene. One said she saw the two accused, together with a third unidentified man, walking from the same direction where Horner’s bakkie was found abandoned. One had bloodstained clothes.

Another witness claimed to have heard the two accused casually discussing the murder at a local tavern, even showing off a wallet and cellphone they had reportedly taken from Horner.

Myburgh said Horner’s wallet was yet to be found.

He said when the pair was arrested on October 3, a day after Horner’s murder, they were found to have slight abrasions on their elbows.

Myburgh told the court  blood analysis would confirm whether the blood samples taken from the scene linked them to the crime.

Matlaletsa and Mahlamba are accused of murdering Horner on October 2 and they were arrested a day later.

Horner’s body had been tied to a fence and he had a rope around his neck. He had been repeatedly stabbed on the head, shoulder, arm and hands.

He also had cuts on his right thigh, leading police to believe he had been dragged on a gravel road. The post-mortem revealed he died of strangulation.

Matlaletsa and Mahlamba are accused of killing Horner after he caught them allegedly trying to steal livestock.

BY TANKISO MAKHETHA

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