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Farm employee linked to attack

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The police managed to trace the suspects after the witness informed them about the robbery when he was arrested

IN COURT: Four men appeared in the Kimberley Magistrates Court yesterday following an attack on a farm in July 15 2017.

A farm employee was allegedly the mastermind behind a robbery at Oberon Farm on July 15 2017 during which a 45-year-old man and his family were robbed.

This was according to evidence presented in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Four men, Johannes Zikalala, Thulani Ngwenya, Sello Molokamme and Itumeleng Sehema, are facing charges of aggravated robbery for their alleged involvement in the incident.

According to the investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer Henk van der Merwe, one of the accused, who turned state witness, said that Zikalala had approached them with a plan to rob the farm.

“According to the Section 204 witness (state witness), accused one (Zikalala) told him and the three other accused, including a wanted suspect known as Bongani, that there were large sums of money and diamonds on the farm. Zikalala apparently also explained to the accused that it was easy to gain access to the farm house as the wife of the complainant left the door unlocked when she went to work.

“Accused one also explained the layout of the house and took them to the farm so that they could see the premises. According to the Section 204 witness, they then all went to the farm in Molokame’s double-cab Isuzu bakkie.

“On June 14 2017 the accused, excluding Zikalala and the Section 204 witness, returned to the farm. Later that day, at Molokame’s home, they – in the presence of the state witness – finalised the plans to execute the robbery,” said Van Wyk.

“At about 3am on June 15 2017, Ngwenya, Molokame, Sehema, Bongani and the Section 204 witness went to farm. They were transported by Molokame in his bakkie. Ngwenya was in possession of a shotgun and Bongani had a 9mm pistol.

“Ngwenya, Sehema, Bongani and the state witness waited in the veld for the wife of the complainant to leave. Molokame remained in his bakkie, which was parked close to the farm gate. Zikalala was on the farm at the time, as he was on duty,” he said.

Van Wyk added that the suspects carried out their plan once the wife of the complainant had left. The complainant, his mother-in-law and his daughter were, however, still inside the house.

The three were tied up inside the main bedroom, where the complainant was sleeping following surgery to his eye. According to Van Wyk, the complainant was instructed to open the safe while Bongani held him at gunpoint.

“The accused tied up the two women and also went to get Zikalala, who they also tied up in the main bedroom. According to the Section 204 witness, they then took a large sum of money, cellphones and other items from the house. Ngwenya called Molokame and told him that they had finished and were on their way out. On their way out, the accused were met by the gardener whom they also tied up.

“They took the complainant’s white Mercedes Benz and drove it to the main road where Molokame was waiting in his vehicle. The accused abandoned the stolen car and left in the bakkie,” said Van Wyk.

According to the witness, they later split the money among the four of them at Molokame’s house, which is situated in Number Two. The witness said Sehema took all the weapons and ammunition and also broke the cellphones taken from the house.

“They split the money and each got R14 000. They gave Zikalala R6 000. There were also other items, valued at more than R102 000 that had been taken. The cash that was stolen was between R80 000 and R94 000. It was money the complainant received from someone in Delportshoop about three days before the incident.

“A pair of binoculars, which was also stolen at the time of the incident, was later found inside Sehema’s vehicle,” he said.

The police managed to trace the suspects after the Section 204 witness informed them about the robbery when he was arrested on another matter.

“We arrested the witness on an unrelated matter. During cross-examination the witness told us about the robbery on the farm. He took us to the scene of the robbery and the owner confirmed the incident.”

He said they then linked the other suspects with the help of the witness.

“Sehema is wanted for another armed robbery and a housebreaking matter in Kimberley. Ngwenya was not wearing a balaclava at the time of the incident and was positively identified by the complainant during an identity parade. The wanted suspect, Bongani, is also linked to robbery cases with accused two, three and four. It is suspected they are all friends. Accused one was placed at the scene by the witness,” said Van Wyk.

He opposed the granting of bail for Zikalala as he had apparently tried to contact the complainant from prison last Friday.

The matter continues.