Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
20 Apr 2021
5:25 am

Stones thrown as racial hatred flares in Mkhondo

Sipho Mabena

Bail hearing in Piet Retief for those charged with killing two farm dwellers, Coka brothers Zenzele and Mgcini.

The five accused in the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court, in Mkhondo, during their bail hearing on 19 April 2021, in the case where the Coka brothers were killed. Picture: Jacques Nelles

 

The farmers were armed, wore bulletproof vests and were out to kill on the day two Mkhondo farm dwellers were gunned down and three other people were injured, according to prosecutor Robert Molokoane yesterday.

He told the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court the farmers had “acted on common purposes”.

“The accused were called via radio to a war, to a fight. After the call, they armed themselves with guns. To make it worse, they wore bulletproof vests and the end result was that two people were murdered…”

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This was the basis of the state’s argument against releasing on bail four farmers – Daniel Malan, 38, Cornelius Greyling, 26, Othard Clingberg, 58, and Michael Sternberg, 31 – and Pampoenkraal farm foreman Zenzele Patrick Yende, who are each facing two counts of murder and one of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

The farmers were arrested more than a week ago, following the fatal shooting of Coka brothers Zenzele and Mgcini. Yende was arrested on Friday.

Malan’s advocate, Jaap Cilliers, said they would dispute the state’s case that there was no common purpose. The affidavits of Malan and Greyling painted a chaotic and violence-charged picture.

Malan stated that around 11am, a message was sent on the farmers’ WhatsApp group, that a group of people was intimidating farm workers. He said when he arrived, the owner of the farm, Werner Potgieter, was severely injured and then Malan was hit on the head with a steel pipe.

Outside the court, the town was locked down as the angry crowd pelted police with stones, bottles and other objects. White journalists and photographers suffered abuse, with The Citizen photographer Jacques Nelles told never to come back because he is white.

It was a frightful experience to get out of town, with people hurling rocks and other objects at any white person. The bail hearing is expected to resume today.

siphom@citizen.co.za