Life sentence for farm workers who brutally tortured a Western Cape farmer, his wife before killing him

Four seasonal farm workers have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a Western Cape farmer. File Picture

Four seasonal farm workers have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a Western Cape farmer. File Picture

Published Oct 27, 2023


Four men who killed a Western Cape farmer in 2019 have been handed life sentences.

Ntabanyane John Tlali, Thabiso Nomoro Ramollo, Moeketsi Max Hlaudi and Keketso Thabang Matsabisa were this week convicted in the Western Cape High Court for the murder of Jurie Wynand Wessels on Kapteindrift farm.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the accused, who were seasonal workers on the farm, entered the farm on May 13, 2019.

“Using their knowledge of the premises, they attacked and killed Wessels and attempted to kill his wife, Liezel Wessels,” said provincial NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

In addition, the accused who are all Lesotho nationals, robbed the deceased of his cellphone, two firearms, ammunition and cash to the amount of R115,000.

“After committing the crimes, only one accused was arrested, while his co-accused fled to Lesotho.

“The NPA lodged an extradition request for the remaining accused and after a lengthy extradition enquiry, held in Lesotho, they were extradited to South Africa,” explained Ntabazalila.

Describing horrific details about the attack, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Megan Blows, told the court that the accused tortured the deceased and his wife by stabbing them.

“They poured boiling water over the victims, attempted to cut off the deceased’s wife’s fingers with a grinder and when the deceased and his wife prayed, cried, or talked to each other, they would be punched in the mouth.”

Advocate Blows said the accused extended the anguish by dragging the deceased along vines until they eventually shot him in the face.

In passing sentence, Judge Derek Wille said gender-based violence in South Africa had regrettably reached pandemic proportions.

“The judge noted that farm murders were also very prevalent, and he believed an unambiguous message needed to be sent to offenders who participated in the type of violence and crime,” said Ntabazalila.

“In his view, the circumstances of the peculiar case demanded that the offenders, for all practical purposes, be removed from society for an extended period.”

In addition to life sentences for the murder, the accused received 10 years direct imprisonment for the attempted murder, 15 years direct imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years imprisonment for the two counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and three months for contravention of the Immigration Act.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Western Cape, advocate Nicolette Bell welcomed the sentence and expressed appreciation to the Wessels family for walking the journey and their patience over the last four years.

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