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Three in court for Els murder

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The accused were previously charged with housebreaking, robbery and rape following the attack on Els and his partner

Piet Els. Picture: Facebook

A CHARGE of murder was added to the list of charges against the three men accused of the brutal attack on well-known Kimberley businessman Piet Els and his partner on his farm outside Kimberley earlier this year.

The three accused – Morapedi Rankali, Motlalentwe Qhautse and Thuso Ramolo – appeared briefly in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning.

They were previously charged with housebreaking, robbery and rape following an incident which occurred on January 23. They are now also facing an additional charge of murder following Els’s death in Mediclinic Gariep during the early hours of Tuesday.

Els and his partner were viciously attacked and tortured by four men who forced their way into the bedroom of Els’s farmhouse just outside Kimberley.

Els sustained multiple injuries, including burn wounds, a head injury and stab wounds. He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Mediclinic Gariep on January 24 and remained in the unit until his death. Els’s partner, who also suffered multiple injuries, including burn wounds and cuts, was discharged from hospital.

A diamond ring, valued at R1.5 million rand, which was stolen during the incident, was, according to the investigating officer, found on Rankali, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Rankali, during his bail application, told the court that his cousin, named Karabo, had asked him to keep the ring for him. He said that he was arrested on January 29 after the police came to look for Karabo.

The investigating officer, Warrant Officer Patrick Dibebe, had also previously testified that shoe prints belonging to Qhautse and Ramolo were found on the scene.

Dibebe said that the sole prints were the same as those of sneakers found in the possession of the two accused.

A 27-year-old woman has also been charged with the possession of suspected stolen goods after a coin collection, jewellery and cards allegedly belonging to the deceased were found in her possession.

The woman was arrested on February 14 and is expected to be added to the current case.

The three men will remain in custody and the case was postponed to June.

Meanwhile, the DA provincial chairperson, Harold McGluwa, has expressed his shock following Els’s death.

“The DA is saddened to learn of the passing of well-known Kimberley businessman, Piet Els, who passed away after sustaining injuries in a rural attack just outside of Kimberley in January this year.

“Heartless attacks on farmers and farm workers cannot be tolerated. The DA will continue to lobby the SAPS to establish rural safety units with the mandate of protecting rural residents, both farm workers and farmers.

“We express our deepest sympathy to the Els family on their tragic loss. One murder is one too many,” said McGluwa.