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Farm murder unfolds in court


The farmer died after he was shot in the head while sitting in his vehicle

Willem Olyn

The trial of a farmworker accused of killing his employer on his farm Bonteheuwel near Griquatown during 2017, is currently unfolding in the Northern Cape High Court.

Willem Olyn is facing a charge of murder, four charges of attempted murder, four charges of contravention of the Firearms Control Act for pointing a firearm and further charges of theft, reckless and negligent driving, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.

The farmer, Willem van der Westhuizen, died after he was shot in the head while sitting in his vehicle. Olyn allegedly went on a shooting rampage on October 31 2017 after apparently complaining that it was too hot to work.

The charges of attempted murder relate to Olyn allegedly shooting at Benjamin Witbooi, Gracious Lackay and Ricardo Pyl, who were sitting about 60 metres from where Van der Westhuizen was killed.

None of the three men were hit during the incident, but Olyn also allegedly shot Dion Witbooi at his residence in Rainbow Valley.

Witbooi was shot in the testicles and had to undergo surgery at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.

The State contends that the murder of Van der Westhuizen was premeditated.

Olyn was employed by Van der Westhuizen at the time of shooting.

On the day of the incident, Van der Westhuizen apparently arrived back at his farm, Bonteheuwel, with Shelton Williams and found Olyn sitting with a .22 rifle between his legs.

The State alleges that Van der Westhuizen went into his house and when he came out again later, he enquired from Williams about the whereabouts of Olyn. When he found him, Van der Westhuizen asked Olyn why he was still taking his lunch break.

Olyn apparently replied that it was “too hot” to work.

Van der Westhuizen and Williams then got back into the vehicle. Olyn allegedly walked up to the passenger side of the vehicle where Williams was sitting, pointed the firearm at Van der Westhuizen and shot him in the head.

Olyn then walked away from the vehicle and shot at Witbooi, Lackay and Pyl. They ran away in the direction of Griquatown.

Olyn allegedly also pointed the firearm at several other people who arrived on the scene.

When police arrived, Van der Westhuizen was lying on the ground in front of the garage. Olyn took his vehicle and sped off when police approached him.

Van der Westhuizen was certified dead on the scene. A post-mortem showed that he died as a result of multiple gunshots to the head and neck.

The matter is being heard by Judge Mpho Mamosebo, the State prosecutor is advocate Kenneth Kgatwe and Olyn is being represented by Moetleetsi Tau Mogwera. Mamosebo yesterday postponed the matter to today.