Four men in court for Benoni family murder

The trial of four men arrested at Mzingi near Nelspruit in connection with the murders of a Benoni family in February is expected to start in the Secunda High Court on Monday, police said.

Frans van der Merwe (57) his wife Gina (53) their son Daryl (31) and his wife Melissa (24) were found dead near the Loskop Dam in Mpumalanga on February 9. All had been shot.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Izak van Zyl said the accused, Vincent Khubeka (22) Themba Rabebe (44) Lucky Mbalati (20) and Clement Makua (24) arrived at the court on Monday morning.

Sonia van der Merwe, daughter of Frans and Gina, who was expected to testify on Monday, arrived at the court around mid-morning.

Accompanied by her cousin, Van Der Merwe said she felt “stressed out”.

“I don’t know what to feel. I keep wanting to phone my parents and ask their advice. I don’t know how I will react when I see the men on trial,” she said.

She said Khubeka, whom she had known since he was a toddler, had been employed at the family’s business.

Van Der Merwe, who turns 33 on Tuesday, said she had come from a very close-knit family.

“I will be celebrating my birthday with the death of family which is bloody awful. My family was murdered and now my life is just ripped away from me. This incident has turned a blessing into a curse.”

She said her brother and his wife had celebrated their one year wedding anniversary a week before the killings.

The trial is scheduled to run over two weeks.

Van Der Merwe discovered that something was amiss when she went to her parents’ house at Farrarmere, Benoni, on the East Rand after her father and Melissa did not turn up for work on February 9.

She found the house in disarray and her father’s Volkswagen Jetta and Ford Bantam bakkie missing.

She then went to the house of her brother Daryl and his wife Melissa, a kilometre away, and found that house also in disarray, and Melissa’s Opel Corsa missing. Sonia then notified the police.

It was then established that the police had recovered the bloodstained Jetta and the bakkie in Alexandra, Johannesburg. The Corsa was found near the crime scene in Mpumalanga. - Sapa

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