Senekal farm murder accused fo

Senekal farm murder accused forges ahead with bail appeal

Sekwetje Mahlamba – accused number one in the Brendin Horner Senekal farm murder case – is still going ahead with his bail appeal.

Senekal farm murder accused fo

The legal team representing accused number one in the Brendin Horner Senekal farm murder case anticipates that 32-year old Sekwetje Mahlamba’s bid to have his bail denial overturned will at last sit in the Bloemfontein High Court next week.

Mahlamba’s lawyer, Joseph Kgoelenya, who was absent from the latest court appearance on Tuesday, 1 December 2020 due to another case, says they are finalising their application. Kgoelenya has attributed the delay to the handing over of pertinent documentation about the investigation into the farm murder.

Stock theft led to Senekal farm murder

Horner – a farm manager – was beaten and strangled to death in early October, at the Bloukruin Estate outside the small farming town of Paul Roux, in what the state believes was a stock theft incident gone wrong.

Kgoelenya’s client, appeared alongside his co-accused, 44-year old Sekola Matlaletsa in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where the matter was postponed to 22 January 2021 due to outstanding forensic evidence. Matlaletsa who was granted R 5 000 bail in late October is back in cuffs for a separate stock theft incident. It is yet to be confirmed if his legal counsel, Machini Motloung will also approach the Bloemfontein High Court.

When probed on this latest stock theft charge, Kgoelenya chalks it up as just another tactic by the state to strengthen their weak case. He believes Mahlamba will emerge victorious from the Bloemfontein High Court regarding bail.

Free State Police Commissioner, Baile Motswenyane, revealed in her address at the Ministerial Rural Safety Imbizo in Bethlehem in mid-November, that during the profiling of the suspects in the Horner murder, it was determined they had been linked to seven other stock theft cases. Her office, in collaboration with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Free State, will be probing those cases in the hopes of having them placed back on the court roll. A sign of the worst to come for the accused in this case.

READ: Senekal suspect’s criminal history revealed – as Cele rejects ‘civil war’ talk

Forensic testing backlog may affect murder case

When Magistrate Deon Van Rooyen granted bail to the second accused in late October, he cited a lack of direct material evidence linking him to the crime. This is despite the fact that Mahlamba was out on bail when he was nabbed for the farm manager’s brutal murder while Matlaletsa, who has a longer rap sheet, was convicted of stock theft in the past. 

The DNA analysis of blood samples taken from Horner’s bakkie at a private laboratory revealed both the accused couldn’t be linked conclusively to the abandoned bakkie. Furthermore, the clothing material found at Mahlamba’s premises, are still being analysed at a state laboratory.

READ: Breaking: Senekal murder accused granted bail over ‘lack of evidence’

When delivering his order on the bail applications Van Rooyen made an impassioned plea to Police Minister, Bheki Cele, urging him to use his influence to expedite investigations into the Senekal farm murder. Van Rooyen briefly reflected on the sensitivity of the case, furthermore expressing his concerns regarding the possibility of delays, specifically with regards to DNA analysis.

He said in his experience, the backlog at the state forensic laboratory could set the trial back anywhere from around 6 months to a year. The Magistrate emphasised the sensitivity on the case, adding that the 21-year-old’s murder has brought “racial tensions, economic divisions in this small town, and the mistrust in the police” to the fore.