Crime Busters of SA: farm murders 2001-2003
Solidarity trade union: - list of farm murders
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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Afrikaners banned by FIFA from protesting outside courtroom: North West farmer Johan Strydom was chained to his bakkie and dragged around his farm … while he was still alive.
Potchefstroom, June 9 2010 - The case against three black men who stand accused of murdering North West farmer Johan Strydom at his Buffelshoek farm outside Potchefstroom last month, has been postponed in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court to the next day - June 10.
Accused murderers Simphiwe Tuen, Jonathan Sekgane and Soul Letsie were ordered to appear in the same court while the case was being investigated further. They still remain in custody.
The investigating officer, warrant officer Pretorius, told the court he was awaiting results on fingerprints lifted from the crime-scene and DNA-results from blood found on a shoe there.
The three men, according to the charge sheet, allegedly had ambushed Johan Strydom at the gate of his farm – and according to the post-mortem examiner, the farmer was alive when he was chained to his bakkie by one leg and dragged around the farm to the homestead in May.
AfriForum Youth has meanwhile also lodged a formal complaint against FIFA with the SA Human Rights Commission because they were barred by FIFA from demonstrating against Strydom’s murder outside the courtroom today.
Afriforum says in its formal complaint that it is a blatant contravention of the South African Constitution, which guarantees all citizens the right to free speech.
“FIFA and the SA government announced a moratorium against all public demonstrations for the duration of the World Cup 2010 . That is in direct contravention of Article 17 of the Constitution, which gives citizens the right to hold peaceful deonstrations, said Ernst Roets, AfriForum Youth’s national chairman. “The case about which we want to demonstrate, deals directly with the most unimaginable forms of violence with which the Afrikaners are being targetted. To infringe upon our basic constitutional rights just because a sports tournament is taking place, is inconceivable.’http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=13927468970#!/topic.php?uid=13927468970&topic=13164
“Most cruel, violent crimes I’d ever seen while on the Bench…’ said High Court judge S.P.B. Hancke
2010-06-09 Welkom, Free State. The gardener of the two unarmed, frail Boer women who were tortured to death on March 6 2009 was found guilty of their extremely cruel murders. The trial left many questions unanswered: why the women were tortured to death over a three-hour period; why the slogan “Kill the Boer’ was daubed on the farm house wall; why so little of value was ‘robbed’.
High Court judge S.P.B. Hancke ruled that it was proven beyond any reasonable doubt that gardener Joseph Hlongwane, 22, had tortured to death the elderly, unarmed Helen Lotter and her daughter Alice , 57, on March 6 2009. No explanation was given by the gardener as to why he had displayed such extreme cruelty, carrying out at least three hours of torture. He will be sentenced on Wednesday 9 June 2010.
Helen Lotter, 57, died of the repeated, very severe sharp trauma injuries to her lower body
The frail, unarmed mother, Mrs Alice Lotter (76) died from multiple, deep stabbing wounds to her neck and throat on the night of 6 March 2009; her daughter Helen, left, succumbed to 'severe, repeated, sharp trauma injuries to her lower body administered with knives and a broken beer bottle.' A post-mortem examination by Dr Horst Bumba described that all of Helen’s front teeth were bashed out and that her entire body and face were ‘covered in severe bruises, chafing and stabbing wounds.’
Broken beer bottle: Hlongwane’s preferred murder weapon?
Hlongwane was also found guilty of murdering Allanridge resident Bongani Landu on 2 November 2007. Apparently broken beer-bottles were Hlongwane's choice of weapon: he'd stabbed Landu to death with a broken beer bottle - and tortured Helen Lotter to death by stabbing her repeatedly into the vagina and anus with a broken beer bottle. She was tortured so extensively that her womb 'was completely missing', and 'slabs of human fat the size of a man's hand were sliced off her body', according to the post-mortum examiner’s testimony.
The convicted murderer's legal counsel, advocate Jan Nkhahle, submitted extinuating circumstances: Hlongwane is a single man with a little daughter, and also was “very young” at the time of the murders. "He completed his matric in 2005 and started medical studies but had to break them off because of financial problems,' he said.
‘The sounds my sister made at the hospital will haunt me all my life…’
Volksblad journalist Corne van Zyl also quoted Mrs Antoinette Horn, the daughter and sister of the murdered women and who had attended the trial throughout. She said that 'the sounds which my sister made while they offloaded her from the ambulance at the hospital, will haunt me all my life. It's however a chapter one must try and close so that one can get on with one's life. Nothing is going to bring back my mother and sister.'
“It would have been easy to just tie these unarmed women up to rob them…’
Just like the state witnesses had said during the trial, both the State counsel advocate Sophie Giorgi and judge Hancke also expressed deep shock about the extreme cruelty displayed by Hlongwane – especially towards his victim Alice Lotter.
- Barbaric, gruesome…
- "In my 25 years on the Bench this is the first time I have ever heard reports about a person murdered from the sharp trauma and injuries administered to her lower body. I can't do anything else except to describe these murders as barbaric and gruesome,' said Giorgi. She also submitted that the murderer should be sentenced to a lifetime in prison without any extinuating factors. "The court should also take into consideration the fact that the Lotter women were both unarmed, frail women. "It would have been easy to just tie them up and rob them without having to use any violence,' said Giorgi.
Judge Hancke also said this was the first time in his long career that he had ever come across such violence. "It seems to me as if the murders are carried out in a more gruesome and violent manner than before,' he said. Hlongwane also was found guilty of murdering Allanridge resident Bongani Landu on 2 November 2007 – he had stabbed him to death with a broken beer-bottle…
The unmarried 57-year-old farm woman Miss Helen Lotter was stabbed repeatedly with a broken beer-bottle – so fiercely and deeply that her sexual organs internally and externally were extensively mutilated – and her cervix and uterus were completey missing: ’ testimony by coroner:
2010-06-03 Tom de Wet VIRGINIA. – The gruesome cruelties suffered by the murdered Miss Helen Lotter, 57, and her mother Alice became very clear when coroner Dr Horst Bumba’s report to the Welkom High Court showed that Helen Lotter’s cervix and uterus were ‘missing’ and that her death was caused by ‘sharp trauma and injuries to her lower body’ incurred during the attack against the two Afrikaner women in their Allenridge, Free State farm house on March 6 2010.
Dr Horst Bumba’s report also described that all her front teeth were bashed out and that her entire body was ‘covered in bruises, chafing and stabbing wounds. Her sexual parts were mutilated extensively also internally. Dr Bomba was unable to find the unmarried Afrikaans woman’s uterus or cervix (womb). He described these extreme injuries as 'having been caused by very clear penetration with a sharp object’. Due to the extreme injuries, Dr Bumba was unable to determine whether she had been raped.
Another report by medical examiner Dr Wilhelm van Heusden of the mother Alice, 76, concluded that the old farm woman had died due to ‘asphyxiation after breathing in blood from penetrating stabbing wounds in her neck and throat’.
Gardener ‘s claim that he was forced to sign a confession rejected by the Bench:
A ‘trial-within-a-trial’ was also held by Judge S.P.B. Hancke, assisted by two assessors, to determine the admissability of a conflicting signed and sworn confession by the one of the two accused black men who are on trial for murdering the women; their gardener, Joseph Hlongwane (22) and Joseph Khumalo (21). Judge Hancke examined all the statements submitted to the court by Hlongwane, including his claims that he had been ‘threatened, forced and dictated’ by the police to submit this confession.
However the Bench ruled that Hlongwane had submitted the signed confession ‘from his own free will’ and that he himself had moreover, provided detailed descriptions of the way in which the attack on the Lotter women had been carried out, including what he’d taken away from their homestead.” The Bench ruled the gardener’s confession legally-admissable after examining all the statements by Wesselsbron magistrate J A Smith, SAPS captain Francois Laux; warrant-officer James Mahlatsi, the investigating officer, and Captain André Niemann.
“I’d stabbed her twice in the neck because she owed me money…’
Hlongwane claimed in his confession, ruled admissable by the Bench, that he had ‘stabbed Mrs Alice Lotter twice with a pair of scissors in the neck because she owed me money”, after she had refused to pay him. Before the murders he’d gotten himself drunk at a local shebeen with his comrade Joseph Khumalo, they had returned to the farm and he had gone inside the farm house to argue with Mrs Lotter. He had submitted this statement to magistrate Smith in Wesselsbron three days after the double-murder.
However this contradicts the old mother’s dying statement to Captain Koos Venter, the police officer who had found the mortally-wounded mother and daughter.
- Her “death-bed confession’ was that the gardener had broken into their homestead by crashing through a window and that he had ‘hurt “ both women after the mother had spotted ‘a group of men standing outside at their bakkie and had warned them to go away or she’d phone the police’. Mrs Lotter told Captain Venter and an attending paramedic that she had recognised their gardener when he was climbing through the window. (The forensic evidence before the court earlier was that the window had broken into from the outside). http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Wreedaardigheid-van-moorde-blyk-uit-verslae-20100603
Just before she died, the mortally-wounded Alice had told investigating SAPS captain Koos Venter that the women were tortured by their gardener, Joseph (Hlongwane, 22) – and had pointed the policeman to the worker’s personal details which she kept inside her passport, which made it very easy for them to arrest the man shortly thereafter. Hlongwane was also directly linked to the murders of the two frail women by fingerprints lifted from the crime-scene by forensic experts, the court heard.
The mother’s last words to the Afrikaner policeman were “Thank the Lord that you care for us and that we can hide with you…’’ Alice Lotter died shortly after her arrival at hospital, her daughter Helen died several days later. Hlongwane, 22 and his co-accused Joseph Khumalo, 21 had denied all the charges.
The torture/murders caused deep anger throughout the Afrikaner/Boer community. Information submitted by police members to the news media shortly after the murder also was that the words ‘Kill the Boer’ had alsobeen daubed in the women’s blood on the farmhouse walls. However while crime-scene photographs were submitted, this aspect – providing a very clear political motive – was not raised during the trial: Hlongwane was not put on the witness stand for cross-examination.
GRAPHIC RE-ENACTMENT OF THE TORTURE-MURDERS AT ODENDAALSRUST LAW COURT
Picture above – Re-enactment of Lotter women’s tortuous deaths during protests at law court. Shortly before he was also murdered in April 2010 - hacked to death so brutally that he was unrecognisable and his limbs were nearly severed - Ventersdorp farmer Eugene Terre’Blanche, leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), also referred to the extreme cruelty of the Lotter women’s torture-murders in media interviews. Terre’Blanche had also led peaceful protest actions at the Odendaalsrust law courts when the suspects made their first remand appearances in April last year.
The Boer protestors (pictured above) also demanded that the murderers be hanged – and had also carried out graphic re-enactments depicting the exact way in which the Lotter women had been put to death – scenes which shocked many onlookers and caused indignation in the news media.
Shortly before he was murdered a year later - hacked to death so brutally that he was unrecognisable -- ailing Ventersdorp farmer Eugene Terre’Blanche, leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), also often referred to the extreme cruelty of the Lotter women’s torture-murders in media interviews. Terre’Blanche had led the peaceful protest actions at the Odendaalsrust law courts when the suspects had made their first remand appearances and applied for bail in April 2009. The Boer protestors carried out a graphic re-enactment of the way in which the Lotter women had been put to death and also demanded the return of the death sentence for such cruel race-hate crimes.. Their reenactment was so graphic that it had shocked many onlookers and caused outrage in the Afrikaans-language news media.
ANC-MAYOR MRS MATABA LEETO ALSO LED A COUNTER-PROTEST
The local ANC-mayor also organised a counter-protest with local ANC-cadres at the same time: but the Boer and ANC protestors did not clash: they were kept seperated by a large police force which was being ordered around by the ANC-mayor, who told the Boers that their protest was ‘illegal’.
The two groups then stood side-by-side on the curb opposite the law court, loudly trying to outdo each other in singing their respective national anthems in their own languages… as can be seen on the picture below: the ANC contingent can be seen in the background, the Boers in front. http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2009/04/odendaalsrust-law-court-scene-of-angry.html
Odendaalsrust magistrate’s court April 2009: – the ANC counter-protest group in the rear middle of this photograph, dressed in green and yellow, was headed by local ANC-mayor Mrs Mataba Leeto in the background; the Boer protestors in front objected against the suspects getting bail http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2009/04/odendaalsrust-law-court-scene-of-angry.html
“Captain where are you?’
Captain Koos Venter, head of the detective unit at Allanridge, testified that he had received a call from Mrs Alice Lotter on the evening of March 6 2009. She ‘d asked him: “Captain where are you?” in Afrikaans – and then the line went dead. He was unable to call her back, so he jumped into his car and chased from his home in Odendaalsrus to the Allanridge farm. At the backdoor of the homestead he found a ‘very badly injured Miss Helen Lotter.’ Her face was coated in blood, some of her teeth had been smashed out, she wore a bloodied t-shirt and her naked underbody was covered in blood. A bloodied knife and scissors were found at the scene as well as bloodied beer-glas shards lying near the daughter’s legs. He found the mother Ieaning against a dining-room chair, just about to fall over. He gently helped her lie down on the carpet of the living room. She asked him: “Who are you?” while he examined the ‘gaping wounds at her throat, arms and hands,’ he told the court.
- He told the mortally-injured old woman that he was Captain Venter, and then she told the Afrikaner police man “Thank the Lord that you care for us and that we can hide with you…’
Venter briefly searched the house and came across the women’s two dogs, locked into a room. He then rushed back to the women and tried to make them more comfortable while waiting for the emergency service he’d alerted, to arrive. While doing this Mrs Alice Lotter told him that it was Joseph, the gardener, who had ‘hurt them’. She also told Captain Venter that Joseph’s personal details were kept inside her passport, which was on the dining table. She didn’t speak anything else after that and died shortly thereafter at the hospital.
Venter testified that he had 31 years of police service behind him – and that this was the bloodiest and cruellest crime scene he had ever seen. Hlongwane was also linked to the murder by finger-prints found at the crime-scene by forensic experts, reported Volksblad.
The public prosecutor in this case is Advocate Sophie Giorgi, the defence counsellors are Advocate Jan Nkhahle and Mr. Lawrence Chabalala (sp?). Judge Hancke is assisted on the Bench by two Assessors,: Mr P Haasbroek and Mrs B Smal. Sentencing of the convicted gardener is expected shortly at the Welkom High Court. http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Bejaarde-se-gebed-laaste-woorde-voor-dood-20100601
Stonnie van den Berg of Bloemfontein kept a cool head, saving herself and the five-year-old girl in her care…
2010-06-09 A Free State woman’s gardener had his tools of suspected planned torture all neatly arranged on the workbench in the garage: a hatchet, screwdriver and a set of cable-ties – before he attacked his employer of six months, Mrs Stonnie van den Berg, 40. Volksblad journalist Tom de Wet interviewed Mrs Van den Berg after her ordeal: she told him that the little girl she was looking after, Xea du Toit, 5, had saved her life by raising the alarm.
“The Lord carried me and little Xea saved my life,’ she said. Her gardener Daantjie, ‘whom she had treated as if he was her own child’, had allegedly suddenly grabbed her from behind while she was busy hanging up her laundry. “Usually I always lock the doors but I was in and out, hanging up the laundry.” She was inside when she was suddenly grabbed from behind and her mouth was firmly covered by his hand. ” I could not get out a sound,’ she said.
Mrs Van den Berg is little Xea’s day-mother and the little girl screamed loudly when she saw the attack – and the startled gardener then released his employer from his grip. When she turned around she saw him standing there, holding some cable-ties. She pushed the little girl behind her and then asked him ‘straight-out, ‘Daantjie what are you doing with me and what are you doing here, you clearly are not here to just visit…’, “she said.
“He replied that there ‘was a ‘tsotsi- (thug) in the garage who wanted to hurt us and that we must come and look’. A calm feeling then came over me and I started talking to him while I walked up to him slowly, while he’s meanwhile going backwards down the hallway, looking into my face the entire time and saying that I must come with him to the garage’.
The two reached the kitchen – but she had fooled the gardener into believing that she was trying to flee with the child through the backdoor. Instead she grabbed the child and rushed out of the front door, screaming loudly to alert passersby and neighbours. While the gardener fled, guards from her security company Shepherd Alarms were on the scene ‘within just seconds’ and strangers I had never seen before were taking care of us and protecting us,’ she said.
The security guards searched the house and the garage – and then came across the neatly arranged hatchet, screwdriver and cable-ties, all packed out in a meticulous array on her husband’s workbench. The suspect was arrested shortly thereafter. He had only worked for the Van den Berg couple for six months. http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Vyfjarige-help-vrou-se-lewe-red-20100609
Afrikaans school-girl burnt in acid attack: educaton department ordered to pay R500,000 in damages to parent
2010-06-09 Mike van Rooyen of Volkblad reports that acting judge Henriëtte Murray has ordered the Free State education department to pay R5,552,971.- in damages plus the legal costs to Mr Dawie van Niekerk of Fouriesburg – the father of Daleen van Niekerk, who suffered long-term chemical-burn injuries in October 2002 when an unnamed fellow pupil had doused the matric girl in drain-cleaner during a politically-volatile student-council election.
The girl suffered the acid-attack while sitting with two friends outside the Voortrekker High School -- instead of being inside where the voting of the new student-representative body was taking place: just like many other matric pupils the girl was outside because ‘they had no voting rights,’ reports van Rooyen. It’s not known what legal steps – if any – were taken against the pupil and his parents, but a fellow pupil had tossed the drain-cleaner across Daleen’s legs, feet and chest – and some of the droplets also damaged one of her eyes.
She required emergency hospitalisation for the serious chemical wounds and also needed surgical procedures afterwards. The girl suffered permanent, long-term injuries which will cause her suffering and stress for the rest of her life, the court was told. The bright matric girl’s grades dropped dramatically after the injuries; and she also fared less well scholastically at the university she attended because her injuries have caused her severe pain and stress.
Two years earlier, high court judge Faan Hancke had also ruled that the school and its personnel had ‘ a duty of care’ to protect all their pupils against injuries and attacks and to maintain a safe and secure environment for its pupils. He ruled that the local MEC of education could also be held legally responsible for the injuries suffered by Ms van Niekerk. This week’s ruling established the extent of the financial costs and damages which have to be paid by the education department to the parent of the girl, to help pay for the child’s long-term medical costs. http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Departement-moet-opdok-na-voorval-met-dreinreiniger--20100609
American tourists couldn’t bathe in bone-dry Zastron – so they drove 200km to Bloemfontein…
2010-06-09 Karen Ebersohn reports in Volksblad that two tourists from the Americas showed up in Bloemfontein, desperately looking for a place where they could take a bath. The water-supplies in Zastron, where they were staying, had dried up because the one and only local water-pump had burnt up. 28-year-old US journalist Josh Fowler from New York city; and 31-year-old Esteban Garro of Mexico, said they got a ‘real third-world feeling’ because they hadn’t been able to take a bath for three days.
Fowler was in Zastron for research in Lesotho and IT-specialist Garro was visiting with ‘friends-of’-friends’ in Zastron before leaving for Cape Town to attend the WC2010. Garro said there was no water to bathe in in Zastron. “I am desperate to just go somewhere to bathe, by this time I probably don’t smell so good,’ he said. So they showed up in Bloemfontein, looking for a hotel with running water.
Fowler said he was ‘crazy about South Africa and I’m thinking of taking out citizenship.’ However Garro, while liking Bloemfontein, said he’s a bit ‘scared about the high crime stats. Friends of mine have only been in the country four days and have already been robbed twice in Johannesburg.’ He felt much safer in Zastron, Reitz and Bloemfontein.
Local DA-councillor in Zastron confirmed that the town had run dry for three days. He joked that the tourists could have just taken a dive in the nearby river. “In the countryside we are so used to water-shortages that most people make provisions by installing bore-holes and water-tanks,’ he said. “For people who aren’t prepared the water-problem can be a serious problem. Many people in town don’t have a drop of water,’ he confirmed.The burnt-out waterpump was being repaired this weekend.http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Toeriste-Bfn-toe-om-te-bad-weens-dorp-se-watertekort-20100609
Free State shops targetted by murderous robber gangs and scam artists
2010-06-08 Jana van der Merwe reports from Volksblad in Bethlehem Free State that a couple presented themselves as ‘Indian tourists visiting the world-cup’ – and proceeded to steal thousands of Rands from the shop. An Edgars employee said a man and a ‘pregnant women’ showed up early on Sunday-afternoon, speaking ‘poor English’ – and asking whether they could pay with foreign currency.
However they first wanted to ‘take a look at South African R200-banknotes and the reference numbers on them. Having no R200 notes in the cash-register, the female employee took the two people to the office in the rear of the shop to help them – where another worker was counting out the cash earnings. Shortly after the “tourists’ had left, the workers discovered that ‘thousands of rands’ had gone missing.
- As is customary in South Africa these days, the police are blaming the crime on the victims - in this case “on the carelessness of shop-owners who do not install sufficient security measures such as cameras to protect the workers’.
“These people showed up and said they were WC2010 tourists. We wanted to be welcoming and pleasant, so I took them to the rear-office because we had no R200 notes in the cash register to show them,.’ Apparently the couple tried the same scam at two other local shops, Jet and Legit – but the workers there were more alert and nothing was stolen.
“SAPS sergeant Mmako Mophiring confirmed the insident and said the two probably worked as a team, one distracting the worker and the other one stealing the cash. He urged shops to install security cameras. Sterns and American Swiss in Bethlehem also were targetted by armed robbery-gangs and hundreds of thousands of Rands’ worth of jewellery were robbed from Sterns. the Eastern Free State businesses have suffered numerous armed robberies during which several people were shot dead in cold blood. Last year, two foreign guests were shot dead in the Sir Harry’s Lodge at Harrismith. A trial is ongoing in this regard. And three men also were sentenced to life in 2007 after shooting dead a police officer at a Pep Store in Bethlehem. http://www.volksblad.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Winkel-glo-besteel-deur-Italiaanse-WB-toeriste-20100607