Home News Piet Els murder trial to resume on August 15

Piet Els murder trial to resume on August 15

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Further details on what occurred during the early morning of January 24, 2018, when prominent local businessman Piet Els and his partner were attacked on his farm outside Kimberley, will be revealed in the Northern Cape High Court in August.

The accused appear in the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie

FURTHER details and evidence on what occurred during the early morning of January 24, 2018, when prominent local businessman Piet Els and his partner were attacked on his farm outside Kimberley, will be revealed in the Northern Cape High Court in August.

This after the court on Friday postponed the trial of the seven accused to August 15, 2022.

The accused – Mrapedi Rankali, Montlalentwe Qhuatse, Lizbeth Ndlala, Oupa Jeffrey Mahomane, Themba Lawrence Maja, Samson Mbokane and Jabulani Wilson Zuma – are facing charges of murder, after Els died in hospital following the attack, housebreaking with the intent to steal, robbery with aggravating circumstances and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Els, who was brutally assaulted and burned with a hot iron during the attack, succumbed to his injuries on May 15, 2018 after spending almost four months in the high care unit in Mediclinic Gariep in Kimberley.

According to the testimony of the medical practitioner who attended to Els at the time, the businessman spent a total of 111 days in the high care unit and was ventilated for most of the time he was admitted.

This court also heard this week that Els sustained severe and life-threatening injuries during the attack.

Several valuable items, including jewellery, Krugerrands, diamonds and cellphones, as well as Els’ car, which was used as a getaway vehicle, were stolen during the incident.

The car, a white Mercedes-Benz, was recovered on the R31 near Phuthanang by the police not long after the attack.

The court also heard, following lots of speculation, that one of the accused, Jabulani Zuma, claimed to be the biological son of former president Jacob Zuma.

Testimony by an intelligence analyst, Captain Hanlie Conradie, was interrupted after Zuma’s lawyer, Chande Boysen, told the court on Friday that her client was not pleased with some factors in the trial.

“The accused was not happy with the cross-examination by Lieutenant-Colonel Doggie Magugu (th einvestigating officer) and told me that his instructions were not carried out. He (Zuma) is also not pleased with the cross-examination of Elton Conradie. In light of this information, I will not be able to proceed with the cross-examination of the current witness,” said Booysen.

She added that her client was also not pleased with the media taking photographs of him.

“I explained to him that the court cannot make a ruling against that (the media taking photographs of him) and that it is out of the court’s hands.”

Zuma and his co-accused continually covered their faces whenever the media took photographs of them.

Judge Lawrence Lever said that the photographs were not taken during court proceedings and therefore the court could not make a ruling against the media.

The State, represented by advocate Hannes Cloete, alleges that the housebreaking and robbery were planned.

The State further alleges that Els’ death was caused by the accused in committing or after committing the robbery with aggravating circumstances.

It is alleged that the couple was attacked during the early hours of January 24, 2018 when four unknown men entered the farm house by forcing the kitchen door open.

The couple were in the main bedroom at the time.

One of the suspects demanded that Els open the safe, which he was unable to do.

Els and his partner were then assaulted and burned with a hot iron.

The attackers used a grinder to open the safe and several valuable items, as well as firearms, were stolen from the safe.

The attackers then left in the car.

Els’ partner managed to free herself and raised the alarm.

Four of the seven accused are currently out on bail while the other three accused, including Zuma, are in custody.

The case will resume in the Northern Cape High Court on August 15.

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