“The accused acted jointly at all relevant times in furtherance of a common goal to commit the crimes in question.”
This is what the state argued on Wednesday in the trial of seven men who are on trial for the murder of two brothers on the Pampoenkraal farm just over two years ago.
Daniel Malan, Cornelius Greyling, Othard Klingenberg, Ignatius Steynberg, Zenzele Patrick Yende, Andries Pienaar and Werner Potgieter already took their places in the dock in the High Court in Middelburg on Monday.
The charges against them relate to the shooting death of Mgcini Amos Coka and Zenzele Coka on 9 April 2021 on Pampoenkraal, a farm in the Piet Retief area.
The accused are on trial on charges of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, obstruction of justice and breach of the Firearms Control Act. They are currently out on bail.
“At this stage it is unknown exactly when, where and in what way the common goal was formed and who all the parties involved were. It is alleged that it (the common purpose) existed during the commission of the crimes – until the last moment – as well as before the commission of the crimes,” the state argues.
There were a handful of people in EFF uniform at the court on Monday and the situation outside was calm.
A group of relatives and friends of the Coka brothers attended the court case on Tuesday and wore T-shirts with the brothers’ names and photos on them.
Adv. State prosecutor Robert Molokoane called the first state witness, Siyabonga Hlatshwayo, to testify on Wednesday. Hlatshwayo was on the farm the day the brothers were shot dead late in the morning. The farm belongs to Cornelius Greyling and Werner Potgieter.
Hlatshwayo testified that he was on the farm at around 10:00 in the morning with a group of former farm workers to negotiate about work. Apparently, they were unhappy because people were hired from outside, while they had no jobs. The group apparently wanted to “negotiate” with the farm owners about this.
However, after they arrived at the farm, some of the other farm workers indicated that Greyling was not there. The group of disgruntled people then chased away the workers – who were employed on the farm at that stage – Hlatshwayo testified.
Werner Potgieter was informed about the situation and he asked farmers from neighboring farms in a WhatsApp message to come and help.
Rhewal reported earlier that the disgruntled workers appeared aggressive and attacked farmers who arrived at the farm, among other things, with sticks. Several farmers were also injured in the incident.
Hlatshwayo testified that he ran away after Cornelius Greyling fired shots into the ground in front of him. He hid on a hill and heard several shots from there.
A video of Hlatshwayo, Alex Zondo (who will also testify for the state) and two other people arriving at the farm with sticks was also shown in court. The CCTV footage shows the four arriving at the farm at 10:37 and walking towards a barn.
The four people left the area of the shed at 10:42 with about ten others (farm workers). In video it is not clear where the group of people are walking.
Beurtkrag cut short Hlatshwayo’s testimony on Tuesday and he is expected to continue on Wednesday.
As reported earlier, farmers arrested one member of the group of former farm workers, Nhlanhla William Hlatshwayo, on the day. According to the indictment, Hlatshwayo was held against his will and assaulted.
However, the defense claims that Hlatshwayo assaulted Potgieter with an object.
The indictment states that after Mgcini Coka heard that Hlatshwayo was being detained and assaulted, he rushed to the scene “to intervene in the situation”.
“Keeper [Coka] and the farm owners clashed and Mgcini and his brother Zenzele were shot dead during the skirmish. Mgcini was shot in the head and Zenzele in the chest,” reads the indictment.
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