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Former Northern Cape man was alive when buried

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Isak Pietbooi, from Prieska in the Northern Cape, recalled the state of his nephew after his brother had to identify the remains, discovered in a shallow grave on a Lutzville farm.

Martin Visser

Cape Town – The brother of slain farmworker Adam Pieterse could only identify him by a tattoo on his arm, says his uncle.

Isak Pietbooi, from Prieska in the Northern Cape, recalled the state of his nephew after his brother had to identify the remains, discovered in a shallow grave on a Lutzville farm.

Farmer Martin Visser is appearing in the Western Cape High Court sitting in Vredendal and stands accused of murdering Pieterse with a garden spade out of anger, after the farmworker had laid a complaint against him for assaulting him.

Pietbooi said his nephew had left the Northern Cape many years ago. His parents had died when he was young, and Pieterse left to find work opportunities.

“When this news came, it was devastating. His brother and aunt went to the morgue and they said the damage to his face was so severe that if was not for a tattoo on his left arm, they would not have known it was him.

“This entire thing is difficult for us, especially since we are not able to go down there and stay for the trial because we can’t afford it,” said Pietbooi.

He said Pieterse’s three aunts were planning to travel down for the case and needed assistance to find accommodation.

The owner of Dassieshoek Farm, Visser operated a shop and sold alcohol from his house – often the genesis of his alleged arguments with workers, according to the State.

Visser has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, and four further charges of common assault of three other people.

Rural and Farmworkers Development president Billy Claasen said the forensic pathologist who testified in the case had suggested Pieterse may have been alive when he was buried.

“She said to the prosecutor that the injuries inflicted on Pieterse could have been done with a spade, and she said it was possible that he was still alive while he was being buried.

“The details that came out, the injuries inflicted on Pieterse, says so much about the state of mind of the perpetrator,” said Claasen.

He said they were trying to raise funds to assist Pieterse’s only remaining family to attend the case and appealed to the public for assistance.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the presiding judge had conducted an inspection at the scene of the alleged murder on Monday, and the trial would continue today.

Anyone who wishes to assist Pieterse’s family can call Claasen at 0663156463.

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Cape Times