Crime Busters of SA: farm murders 2001-2003
Solidarity trade union: - list of farm murders
2003 - June 2009:
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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Only the accused turned up at Brits court: No Magistrate, No Prosecutor …
Thursday 9 September 2010 By Cynthia Dreyer - The chaos at Brits Magistrate’s Court is ongoing and there ought to be provincial or national intervention in regulating what goes on there. Serious obstacles to the efficient administration of justice are being observed by the Hartbeespoort Community Policing Forum and from Madibeng Pulse’s own observations.
One glaring example was the experience of accused Mr Warwick Walsh (left) His appearances on 17 and 18 August when he turned up in Brits court according to his subpoena -- and there was no magistrate, no prosecutor and no witnesses anywhere in sight.
A family member of Walsh’s family told MadibengPulse on Tuesday that he turned up again at the court on 1 September and found there was no sign of the case against him proceeding.
The latest charges were brought against him following an accident a year ago in which his girl friend had an accident while allegedly driving his car. The charges are for fraud and defeating the ends of justice. But a year later and there were no court officials available to hear the trial.
MadibengPulse regularly report that Police often do their work diligently, only to have justice delayed, to find dockets missing or to have cases thrown out of court.
“Many instances have been reported of cases being dismissed or bail granted at Brits Magistrates’ Court where circumstances warrant imprisonment,” warns Mr Pieter Rautenbach, Chairman of the Hartbeespoort Community Policing Forum.
- “Even in cases of armed robbery, bail has been granted in some cases or the case thrown out of court! Missing dockets are another problem.”
The case against Walsh is a case in point where there has been frustration on all sides because of a lack of administrative or professional diligence in this case not having a magistrate and prosecutor available to hear a case. Whether Walsh is guilty or not, this sort of delay doesn’t serve the course of justice. It also costs both the state and the private sector an enormous amount of money.
“A year has passed and only now is there a proper charge sheet against Warwick,” our source told us. “And even though the State was aware that there was no magistrate or prosecutor for the 17 and 18 August, they didn’t let him know. And when he appeared again on 1 September, statements had only been given to his lawyer a short while before that. It seemed as if they wanted Warwick’s lawyer to ask for a postponement, but he refused.
- “The State then tried to palm the case off on another prosecutor but this one refused, saying he wasn’t going to clear up someone else’s mess. The case will now be heard on 10 November after a special letter of consent,” the source said.
Madibeng Pulse also went to Brits Regional Court last year when Walsh was supposed to be appearing, only to be told that everyone had been sent home because there was no prosecutor available. In civil cases accused and plaintiffs alike have to pay lawyers’ fees for the day.
False bail for two Zimbabweans:
The case of false bail granted to two Zimbabweans last year in the “Ice Drugs” case in which Walsh is also one of the accused and where a Brits court interpreter and a policeman were found guilty, is another example of sloppy administration of justice.
- Another example of confusing decisions at Brits Magistrate’s court is that the interpreter was fined R20,000 but reinstated in her job after an internal hearing. The public may well ask: is a person who receives such a hefty fine for a criminal offence fit to take part in the administration of justice?
Mr Rautenbach says the best thing to do if citizens are unhappy about Brits Magistrate’s Court is to approach the Director of Public Prosecutions in Pretoria.
“That’s what they’re there for,” he told MadibengPulse yesterday. “The person to speak to is Advocate Breytenbach,” he said. For complaints to the Director of Public Prosecutions telephone 012 351 6700 http://www.madibengpulse.co.za/?Task=system&CategoryID=30983&HeadingText=News+090910+brits+court#daihatsu
The trial of the seven suspects in the 13 March 2008 execution-style murder of 28-year-old Pretoria North businessman Hein de Jager has been scheduled May 9 - May 20 2011 in the Pretoria High Court. An eighth suspect has already died of natural causes meanwhile…
MadibengPulse spoke to one of the investigating officers, Captain Simon Tswai of the Shoshanguwe Trio Task Team, who explained why the trial had been postponed once again.
The seven suspects targeted two businesses simultaneously: the Moot Building Supplies and the next door Dreiers Hardware in Pretoria North on 13 March 2008. They shot 28-year-old Hein de Jager, one of the owners of the family business, in the back even though he was holding up his arms in surrender. Then they forced Hein de Jager’s assistant Mrs Hester Potgieter to empty the safe before fleeing in two vehicles, a green Nissan Sentra and a Run X. As a result of information from the community, three of the suspects were arrested the next morning and the two vehicles impounded. Two suspects have been out on bail ever since. The murder weapon and Hester Potgieter’s handbag with her ID inside were recovered at the same time.
“There were not enough days set aside in court for the trial,” Captain Tswai of the Shoshanguwe Trio Task Team told MadibengPulse on Friday following news of the postponement. “Everyone was in court but the judge decided that this was one of the biggest trials on the court roll and needed far more time in the Pretoria High Court. He has postponed the dates to the period 9 to 20 May next year. This will give us two weeks in court.” On 26 April the case was postponed to 1 September because of the congestion of the court roll. Captain Tswai confirmed that all but two of the suspects and the witnesses were in court last Wednesday. There is still one suspect at large the seventh one has died of natural causes and he says he believes the postponement could give detectives the opportunity to reel in the missing suspect…
One of the suspects was out on bail -- and also due to stand trial in Nelspruit for various serious crimes. Another suspect, a convicted killer who is serving 45 years at Sonderwater Prison for murder, armed robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm for which he was previously given bail, will remain at Pretoria Central Prison. Another of the suspects, the driver of the Run X, was arrested in March exactly two years after the heinous crime after a tip off by members of the public. One more of the suspects died in the meantime of natural causes so Constable Tswai says that when the final arrest is made, all seven suspects will be accounted for. http://www.madibengpulse.co.za/?Task=system&CategoryID=30978&HeadingText=News+060910+de+jager+murder+#daihatsu
Sept 8 2010 - Vierfontein, Orkney - French-speaking Algerian citizen Martin Marzouk Berkouk is on trial in Parys for the double-murder of Hendrik and Magda Visagie of the farm region Vierfontein near Potchefstroom on 15 December 2009.
According to testimony in his trial which started this week, Berkouk was caught because a petrol-station attendant, Shadrack Kgaole, 41, had spotted blood dripping from the man's car when he pulled up to refuel. The attendant had also noticed blood on the man's hand - and also noted that he was wearing a woman's ring. Witness Mr Kgaole (41), who works at a Caltex-station in Potchefstroom immediately concluded that the man 'had murdered a woman', he told the court.
The Visagies were not wealthy:
- He worked as a mineshaft-carpenter at Anglo Ashanti’s Tau Lekoa-mine near Vierfontein. The couple lived near the mine in a rental homestead on the farm Weltevrede – right next to a cottage where Berkouk was living with his girlfriend. However the Algerian denies killing 54-year-old Hendrik Visagie and his wife Magda on December 15, 2009.
Kgaole said that he'd arranged all kinds of schemes' to get the suspect man in direct view of the petrol station's security cameras, and keeping him busy by checking the oil and tyres,
And while Kgaole was keeping Berkouk busy, the suspect 'with blood on his hands asked for soap'... the attendant testified.
Berkouk went to wash his hands and then washed blood from the rear sit of the car. Kgaole also noticed that a bullet had fallen from Berkouk's pocket. Kgaole still warned the Algerian man as Berkouk departed that 'he should not drive faster than 90km/h because 'your car engine will stop'. He told the lie to gain time, he testified. He also wrote down Berkouk's number plate and the police was warned.
Warrant-officer J A Uys and constable G J Visagie arrested Berkouk in Fochville. Police forensic experts examined the car after a large puddle of blood was found in the boot of the car. Uys testified that Berkouk claimed that the blood came from a goat which he had hit and then transported. The car he was driving was registered to the murder victim, Mr Visagie. Uys testified that he asked the Vierfontein SAPS to investigate the Visagie 's farm-house. Uys also testified that Berkouk was searched and Mrs Visagie's ID-card was found on him. The SAPS found a broken window, a large blood-stain inside and bloodstained dragmarks inside the homestead. Mr Visagie's body was found later that afternoon outside Orkney, and Magda Visagie's body was found next to the N12 highway. She had bullet wounds in the head and hands and also was assaulted 'with a blunt instrument'.
The trial continues.
Following is the SAPS version of the arrest of the Algerian suspect:
Visagie, Hennie and Magda, murders, Vierfontein, Algerian citizen arrested
"This lady, through her dedication and committment as a South African citizen assisted the police in making a speedy breakthrough in the murder of a couple in Vierfontein. She did not let her relationship with the suspect hinder her from doing what is right by law, and for that we applaude her" said Provincial Commissioner Mashigo.
- The suspect, the French-speaking Martin Berkook, an Algerian citizen, made his first appearence in the Vierfontein Magistrates' Court on charges of murder. The case has been postponed to 14 January for further investigation. Martin, 26 years old, was arrested at about 05:00 on Tuesday, 15 December 2009 at a petrol garage in Potchefstroom. The police were called after petrol attendants noticed something suspicious about the suspect. It is alleged that the suspect poured petrol and tried to pay with a debit card but did not know the secret pin code, and then he was seeing washing hands that were bloody. On arrival the police noticed that the BMW he was driving had blood on the back seat and in the boot, but could not link him to any crime at that time. They arrested him while investigating.
Shortly after his arrest, the suspect's phone rang which led to the development of the whole case. It was his girlfriend on the other side and the police answered. They enquired from the woman if she knew anyone named Visagie because the police discovered that the BMW belonged to a Mr Visagie. The girlfriend did not know any Visagie and knew that her boyfriend did not drive a BMW, that was enough to make her suspicious. She knew that her neighbours were driving a car that fitted the description, and went to investigate.
It is alleged that the suspect, his girlfriend and the Visagies were staying in neighbouring rented houses on Weltevreden farm in the Vierfontein district. The girlfriend knocked at her neighbours' house and when there was no answer, she peeped through the window and noticed blood in the sitting room. She then phoned the police in Potchefstroom and Vierfontein. The Potchefstroom police arrived with the suspect and assisted with investigation.
Through the police helicopter they were able to locate the bodies of the couple. The body of the husband, Mr Hennie Visagie, was found in the veld 10 km near Orkney with a gun shot wound to the head at about 12:45, and Mrs Magda Visagie's body, was found 20 km to Potchefstroom at about 17:00 also with a gun shot wound to the head. Both deceased were in their 60s.
A 9mm pistol that belonged to Mr Visagie was found in the house, and was sent for forensic tests so as to determine whether it was used as the murder weapon.
SAPS rank: Warrant Officer
Surname & Initial: NP. Mbambo
Telephone No: (051) 5076472
Email address: email@example.com
Dentist Casper Greeff -- convicted for the murder-for-hire of wife Estelle in 1999 -- gets a Doctorate in Biblical Archeology from prison in 2010
Convicted murderer, dentist Casper Greeff, right, with daughter Brittani when he became SA’s first and thus far only serving prisoner to be awarded a Doctorate in Biblical Archeology at Pretoria Central Prison on Sept 9 2010. He studies through the distance-university UNISA – where ex-SA president Nelson Mandela also obtained his law degree while in prison.
Virginia Keppler of Beeld newspaper reports that dentist Casper Greeff, 63, convicted in 1999 for hiring murderers to kill his wife Estelle and serving a life-sentence at Pretoria Central Prison, has become the first prisoner in South Africa to obtain a doctorate through the distance-university UNISA this week. Another six prisoners also received lower degrees, one in law; and the rest certificates and diplomas for electrical- and mechanical engineering, marketing and human-resources studies. In the past, prisoners were not allowed to enrol in Unisa’s doctorate degree programme.
Dr Greeff ‘s sister, Mrs Maré Mongiat, and daughters Romi (19) en Brittani Greeff (21) en mrs. Tanya Jardine (39), wept openly when hundreds of prisoners, family and friends stood up and applauded him when he was handed his degree. “We are very proud of our dad and we are not ashamed of him,’ wept Brittani. Romi, a North West University student, drove from Potchefstroom to attend the ceremony.
Greeff was convicted in November 1999 for hiring Elliot Masango and Christopher Njeje to kill his wife Estelle: the two hire-killers had cut her throat in a veldt near Cullinan. http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Moordenaar-tandarts-kry-doktoraat-20100908
Renoe Janse van Rensburg, 43, was found murdered in broad daylight in the centre of Vanderbijlpark on Thursday, September 9 2010. Beeld journalist Sonja van Buul, who also took the pictures, writes that Janse van Rensburg was a caretaker of a building in the CBD. http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Wag-kry-vermoorde-man-se-lyk-op-plein-20100909
SAPS warrant officer Kinnie Steyn said a security guard, enroute to his job, found the murdered Afrikaner’s body in the Stephen le Roux square. A 30-meter-long blood trail led the investigating police to Janse van Rensburg’s burnt cellphone, which was found smouldering in a large fire. There were ‘signs of very serious assaults and dragging marks on his body,’ said the police spokesman. Janse van Rensburg’s elderly parents were informed of their son’s gruesome murder shortly after the find.
Picture above: the SAPS claimed that only his shoes were missing – but there were no other indications that any other personal possessions may have been robbed. (What is he seen wearing on his feet in this picture though, socks or shoes?)
Also picture below: Note the lack of gloves amongst some of the investigating police officers below, polluting the crime-scene with their fingerprints... http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Wag-kry-vermoorde-man-se-lyk-op-plein-20100909
Tragic murders bring SA Community Action Network to KZN’s rural farming area
Brian Jones of the SA Community Action Network writes: “On your behalf Teresa Davie, Victoria Russell, Mark Pitout and I, supported by the Head Office Team of the SA Community Action Network, have been working extensively in the rural farming areas amongst extremely violent criminals. Blood is just spilling everywhere and the farmers and their staff are suffering tragic, tragic days.
THE RALFE MURDER:
“Brian Jones – addressing Australia”: writes:
In March (2010) I was called to help a family in Colenso that have turned into such great friends like you all, the Ralfe's. In this tragic incident James' father, Nigel Ralfe, was shot although unarmed, severely severely beaten and then put on his knees to be executed. He ducked and the bullet lacerated horizontally across the back of his neck. James' mother, Lynette Ralfe, was not so fortunate. She was shot three times and died running to the room to press the panic button.
Above: English-speaking SA farmer Nigel Ralfe told the BBC after the murder of his wife Lynette in March 2010: ‘calling for the murders of all white farmers (by Julius Malema, ANC youth league leader) is stupid and irresponsible. The farmers are the food-producers for millions of people. It seems to me as if they are trying to kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs…’
James' three little girls were being bathed by their grandmother at the time. It was incredible that the little girls aged 20 months, 4 and 5 years old were not raped as they ran naked amongst the suspects. Along with their grandfather the little girls made their way to the main bedroom where they sat next to Lynette's body. Eventually Nigel managed to make a call to James, who was with his incredible Queen Sally. They were in Cape Town to participate in the Argus Cycle race. These words, and this case, were one of the reasons I immersed myself and you into helping the rural areas... "James, Mom is dead, what must I do with the girls?" Imagine if that was your call and you were 1600km away! You see Nigel was bleeding out after an hour and a half of beating, being shot twice and being dragged from one side to the other... well it was incredible he was still alive. Again the SAPS have been amazing and have four out of six suspects in custody. They even tracked and chased one of the guys down in Johannesburg. BBC Article and Audio Interview with Nigel Ralfe http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/2010/04/100407_outlook_south_africa_ralfe.shtml
THE KARG FARM MURDERS, July 23 2010:
At the subsequent inception of the SA Community Action Network’s Rural Family development I anticipated that we had nine months to establish our local systems so that the community and role-players would be in a position to respond effectively to the next major incident. This was based on the stats and I was so wrong. My heart was torn when the next call came from Mooi River in July. In the Mooi River / Cameberge area the triple murder at the Kargs farm was just such a wakeup call. The SAPS did an incredible job of arresting all the suspects and sadly one was shot dead at the police station. I firmly believe that death is too easy for such a violent criminal but yet again I was proud that the SAPS defended themselves from this human being as he tried to attack them whilst attempting to escape, unlike when he attacked an unarmed family like the Kargs. This human being was terribly violent and was a staff member who had been trusted. The gang slit Lorraine Kargs (58) throat, shot domestic worker Hilda Linyane (34) in the head and stabbed gardener Zachues Mhlongo (66) multiple times before slitting his throat. They then (lightly) beat up a child in the house. links: The Mercury News Report Times SA Guardian News Reports
71 farm murders in Colenso, Winterton rural areas since 2001
Since 2001 there have been 17 Farmers and around 54 staff / community members murdered on 83 farms in Winterton, Colenso and surrounding areas. In every attack a human being in this area has a 49% chance of dying in the first 5 minutes of the attack or house robbery. Unlike the urban areas the single greatest advantage to the very, very unprofessional criminals is that they have time on their side. Whilst in the urban areas the overall experience of what we term a "long attack" is 15 minutes, in the rural areas the shortest attack I have come across was 50 minutes whilst the longest was 33 hours. The challenge for the farmers and their staff is simply getting a message out that they need help. Contrary to popular belief, one of the bridges I have to cross within the community is to highlight that overall the SAPS are doing all they can. Whilst some meetings have been taking place they are normally with Ranking Officers. Farmers and staff have almost no relationships with the SAPS members on the ground, let alone other organizations such as RTI, Public Safety, Careline Crises Center, Jes Foord Foundation, NetCare, ER24, the security industry, technology development role-players and so on. The single greatest challenge is developing trust and convincing all parties that there is a solution in working together. At grass roots, right now, the farmers are divided into pockets of associations of around 30 Farmers in each (and some 27 associations), with no collective approach with their staff or other associations. http://www.sacan.co.za/?p=1281
This past weekend we had 100+ poachers brazenly take over a farm near Colenso with their hunting dogs, for sport. This resulted in a Blesbok suffering multiple bite wounds and having its throat ripped out. However, for the first time as a very small SA CAN Rural Family, we fought back hard and fast alongside the SAPS by activating 536 Farmers and 40 operations role-players from our pilot project area (Mooi River through to Dundee). The response was incredible and it was not long before the suspects fired a shot and clashed with the Police and farmers. I was 120km away and all I wanted to do was get into some magic machine and teleport myself to the scene to help all the guys on the ground. Five suspects were arrested, seven hunting dogs were shot and a vehicle was recovered (SAPS Colenso 8/09/2010). I was just so relieved that no one was hurt as it is NOT a SA CAN value to ask the public to join the hard, life-threatening fight in the trenches, so to speak. In the farming areas the only solution is to arm the Farmers, their staff and the Police with the tools to network with each other and to form a co-ordinated group to fight off the 1% of serious and violent criminals. Whilst this was a great start, and our first major in-progress emergency, it highlighted a major weakness which we were working on anyway. http://www.sacan.co.za/?p=1281
Street Watch, Township SOS started:
We are in the process of getting the farmers involved in our normal SA CAN Street Watch, Workers for Safety and Township SOS strategies which you are used to with the street champions, cells and precincts and carefully planned to make sure they are in line with the SAPS Sector Policing, Block Numbers and Clusters. This will ensure that the structure is a strong community muscle for the SAPS and, of course, to each other.We believe the key to all and any solution to the security challenges in the farming area is reliable communications. The now disbanded Marnet system served this function in the past.
Whilst our SMS communications are effective the rural areas experience other problems such as intermittent signal reception. We are therefore investigating up to date radio systems with independent advice from both Johannesburg and Durban City Disaster Management which will meet the needs of the farming community. A meeting is to be held for all Chairmen, vice chairmebn and key emergency service roll-players.
- Farmers need two-way radio network in Colenso/Mooirivier area:
- Enter the greatest challenge to-date to face our Proudly SA CAN Family - we need to help the farmers establish a two-way radio network in this pilot area. They simply cannot do it alone and I will be appealing to all of you and the greater community to help financially support our new Family members, which includes both Farmers and their staff. I firmly believe this will arm those in this network with a razor sharp sword to stop the blood from flowing. Naturally this is all in support of SAPS efforts, of which we are so proud. We will not take a step forward without consulting and taking instruction from them!
So you might ask why I should even care to be involved in this as I have my own community to look after... which you Brian have always told us to do! Yes, this is true, but if we continue to lose the Farmers and staff at this rate who will feed us?
- Who will look after our beautiful Midlands that we all rush to on weekends to get away from the pressures of urban life?
Our country is showing signs of destabilizing:
Our country will start and in fact I believe is already starting to show signs of destabilizing, and the roots of this is in our rural areas. Besides which, these are our fellow South Africans, our brothers and our sisters!All this tells me is that we need to work harder and faster in our Proudly SA CAN Family efforts, and in no way should we ever give in or ever give up! It is a privilege to hold your life in our hands alongside the SAPS, RTI, Metro Police, Security Companies, Careline Crises Centre, Jes Foord Foundation, NetCare 911, ER24, LEMA, VEMA, CEMS, SA CAN Street Watch and Rural Safety Committees.
- As a parting shot, I thought deeply about the fact that if one man can change a country after 27 years of dedication and passion, how much more can a Proudly SA CAN Family do? Inspire your friends today with your SA CAN Family and help each other to bring about the change we are ALL striving for!Should any of your family or friends wish to join our Proudly SA CAN Family they just need to email us on JOIN@SACAN.CO.ZA- we will get back to them and look forward to welcoming them.
South AfriCANS, I LOVE YOU!
- Brian Jones
Chief Executive Officer
Mobile: 083 799 1916
SA Community Action Network
24hr SOS Support Line // 0861672226
24hr Duty Manager // 0837991916
Admin & Help-Desk // 0861623646
Fax // 0317654744