Colonel Isaac Tlhape, the investigating officer in the murder case of Joey (32) and Anisha (30) van Niekerk, told the Brits Magistrates’ court on Friday that eyewitnesses saw how the two women were kidnapped and how their remains were thrown away. “One of the witnesses is now in witness protection after being threatened by the accused,” he said.
Tlhape testified during the bail application of eight suspects in the case. They are accused of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery, rape, murder and housebreaking. The two women were allegedly kidnapped on 10 December 2017, robbed, raped, forced to sign a sale contract for their farm, and then hanged to die.
Tlhape testified that one of the eight accused showed the police where the women’s remains were thrown away after it was moved from the initial disposal site. He said the remains were initially thrown away at a little stream on the so-called mastermind’s farm but a witness saw the bones and some of the accused removed the remains to another site where the police then found them.
He told the court the police initially found another set of human remains at the stream on the mastermind’s farm. “These were sent for DNA testing and the results showed that it was human bones but they do not belong to one of the two victims in this case. The remains presumed to be those of the victims were also discarded at the stream but were moved elsewhere after a witness spotted it. The DNA results are still outstanding,” he said.
In another turn of events during the case, the legal aid attorney of two of the accused was taken off the case as his contract with Legal Aid SA has expired. Pontsho Raikane, attorney for four of the eight accused, offered to represent the two pro bono.
The investigating officer said the two women were taken from their farm by one of the mastermind’s workers and driven to the mastermind’s farm where some of the other accused were waiting for them. He testified earlier that they were attacked, raped and forced at gunpoint to sign a contract of sale.
“They were then lifted up and hanged to die.”
Upon Raikane’s questioning about his two new clients, Tlhape told the court that they had made statements about their involvement in the case. One of these two accused is also a witness in another murder case for which the mastermind and another fellow accused were arrested in the Brits Magistrates’ court last week. The mastermind and his worker appeared in the Rustenburg Magistrates’ court on charges of murder and business robbery for the murder of a Rustenburg woman in 2014. She was shot and killed during a robbery after she agreed to sell her farm to the mastermind of the Mooinooi murders. A policy of R1.8 milion was paid out to him after her death.
The case was postponed to Thursday 12 April for court questions and closing arguments.