A video recording of the events that preceded the fatal shooting on 9 April 2021 on the Pampoenkraal farm in the vicinity of Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, clearly shows that the farmers did not act aggressively.
The recording was obtained from static video cameras installed on the farm and was shown on Wednesday in the High Court in Middelburg as a key piece of evidence in the case.
On Wednesday, a group of protesters gathered outside the court, chanting and waving placards with words such as “Black Lives Matter”. Some of the protesters wore T-shirts with the names and photos of the brothers Mgcini Amos Coka and Zenzele Coka on them.
The Coka brothers were shot dead during the incident at Pampoenkraal. The brothers both lived there and Zenzele worked on the farm for years.
Daniel Malan, Cornelius Greyling, Othard Klingenberg, Ignatius Steynberg, Zenzele Patrick Yende, Andries Pienaar and Werner Potgieter are on trial for the murder of the brothers. They are also charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, obstruction of justice and breach of the Firearms Control Act.
In the video it can be seen how two vehicles, a car and a bakkie, stop at the farm gate and people get out. Adv. Jaap Cilliers, on behalf of the defence, identified them as Mgcini and his friend, Eric Hlatshwayo.
According to the footage, Mgcini then takes off his shirt and Cilliers refers to his “strong” build.
The video then shows Zenzele running in the direction of his brother, after which a confrontation between the two ensues. Hlatshwayo walks in the direction of the farmers and farm workers who are standing a few meters from the vehicles, at a building that has been pointed out as the farm’s office.
The video shows Mgcini breaking free from his brother’s grip after a while and also running in the direction of the farmers and farm workers. It is then clear that Hlatshwayo starts a physical confrontation with Yende. Mgcini can also be seen confronting the farmers and workers.
“It is clear that the aggressive confrontation is coming from Eric [Hlatshwayo] s side, while accused five [Yende] just standing there, without provoking him,” Cilliers explained in court.
The video further shows how Zenzele then tries to stop his brother, after which Yende walks away from the conflict situation. The two brothers then clash with each other again. According to Cilliers, Zenzele tried to get his brother and Hlatshwayo away from the farm.
The opposition of Mgcini and Hlatshwayo can be seen in the video and how they are harsh with the farmers and workers. Zenzele and someone else, who is not known to the court, moved between the two men and the farmers and workers and tried to remove the men from the farm again.
Beurtkrag once again cut the court proceedings short and the video will be further discussed in court on Thursday.
State witness Siyabonga Hlatshwayo confirmed all the events in the video and also testified that only Hlatshwayo and Mgcini Coka acted aggressively.
It was earlier testified that Mgcini and Eric Hlatshwayo went to the farm after Nhlanhla William Hlatshwayo was apparently apprehended and assaulted. Nhlanhla was part of a group of former farm workers who arrived at the farm that day and chased away the current farm workers.
Read previous reports on the case here.
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