A 32-year-old man has been sentenced to a life in prison for the murder of a farmer in Mooiplaas in the Eastern Cape. The farmer was a key witness in a stock theft case.
“Judge Thembekile Malusi … [also] sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years for the unlawful possession of a firearm, three years for stock theft and two years for unlawful possession of ammunition,” regional NPA spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani said.
In June 2016, Odwa Jim Ntlangani and a group of other men gained access to Dongwana Farm in Mooiplaas and stole 16 cattle. He and his accomplices drove the cattle to a neighbouring farm. He sold 10 to another farmer in the area. The police later recovered all the cattle and Ntlangani was arrested. But he escaped while still in handcuffs and fled.
In July 2017, the accused returned to Dongwana Farm and shot farm owner, Jason Winrow, several times.
“After the shooting, the culprits took a bottle of Klipdrift brandy, a brown leather wallet and his cellphone, a Samsung S6, before they vanished with his Toyota Legend 45 clubcab,” police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni said.
The State believes that this was an attempt to bring an end to the stock theft case in which Winrow was a key witness, Ngcakani added.
During the investigation, police arrested a suspect in Cape Town who pointed out where he had to cut the bakkie into pieces.
Charges of attempted murder, stock theft and the possession of stolen property were added through the assistance of the second suspect.
During the trial, Senior State Advocate Zukile Mdolomba said the crime was serious and that there was ongoing outrage against farm attacks.
“The death of a farmer affects the nation, farmers feed the nation. Farmers are killed for various reasons. We don’t know the motive for this particular murder, we can only speculate from the evidence. There was a stock theft case and the deceased was a primary witness. From the accepted evidence it stands out that this was the motive for the murder,” he said.
Judge Malusi said Winrow hired employees for his farm and that they lost their livelihoods as the farm was sold after his murder.