THE high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday heard evidence that while Cramond farmer Andrew Main (53) lay on the ground after being shot with an AK47 rifle on September 23, 2007, two of his assailants rushed up and pick-pocketed him.
This evidence was given yesterday before Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner and an assessor by Mthokozisi Blessing Jali, who is already serving a long jail term after pleading guilty to Main’s murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Jali is giving evidence for the prosecution in the trial of his cousin, Mzamo Wiseman Jali (36), who has pleaded not guilty and denied that he took part in the attack.
Mzamo Jali faces five charges of murder, housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances, and three counts of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
One of the latter charges relates to his alleged possession of three firearms that were stolen from the safe at Main’s farmhouse on the night of his murder. They are a 12-bore Army and Navy shotgun, a .303 Parker-Hale rifle and a .38 Special Wesson revolver.
Mthokozisi Jali testified that his cousin was one of the assailants who accosted Main when he arrived home in the early hours of the morning, shot him and robbed him of the firearms, his bakkie and a cooler box and camping chairs that had been in the vehicle.
He said the other, Lucky Ntombela, has since been killed.
According to the state’s indictment, Ntombela was shot dead by police while being arrested.
Mthokozisi Jali said his cousin and Ntombela first discussed robbing the farmer in August 2007. When he again visited his parental home in Mpolweni near New Hanover in September, they decided to carry out the plan.
He said he was shown an AK47 rifle in a fowl run at the Jali homestead and told that it would be used to commit the offence.
He said the AK47 was carried by Ntombela on the night of the murder. “We had agreed that the one who was carrying that firearm was going to point it at the farmer and the others were going to rob,” he said.
He said that on their arrival at the farm, Main was not at home. They waited for him behind the house. He arrived between 12.30 and 1 am. They came out of hiding and approached Main. He heard the sound of gunfire. “Then I noticed the farmer falling to the ground. We rushed to the victim and then we pick-pocketed him as he was lying on the ground.”
He said he and his cousin removed keys to the house and safe from the farmer. However, when the house keys did not open the doors they tried, they kicked open the kitchen door.
He said Ntombela and his cousin entered the house while he remained outside.
After opening the safe they reported that there was no money inside, only firearms. He testified that they took two firearms from the house. They drove off with Main’s vehicle. After dropping off the firearms at Jali’s homestead, they drove to Cramond where they abandoned the stolen bakkie in a sugar cane field. Before leaving, however, they found the cooler box and chairs on the back and removed them.
The case is proceeding.