/ 7 June 2011

Lindley murders: Court told of plan to get wife to open safe

An accused in the murder trial of the Potgieter family — killed on their Lindley farm — testified on Tuesday the plan was to get the farmer’s wife to open the house and safe during the robbery.

Paulus Khumalo testified during cross-examination by the state in the Bloemfontein High Court that those doing the robbery should have held on to farmer Attie Potgieter, while his wife was asked to open the house and safe.

“I cannot answer,” Khumalo said, when state prosecutor Jannie Botha asked him what the plan was if the farmer and his wife did not cooperate during the robbery.

“Why not? You can do better than that,” Botha told Khumalo.

“I do not know,” said Khumalo through an interpreter.

Khumalo and five other men, aged between 18 and 33, are accused of killing the farmer, his wife Wilna Potgieter and their two-year-old daughter Wilmien on December 1 2010.

Khumalo testified he did nothing when he saw two other accused fighting with Potgieter, even though the farmer was covered in blood.

Khumalo said from the start the plan was to rob the farming couple and the “plan was running smoothly” at some stage.

“No, no plan to kill,” he testified on the presence of a firearm during the robbery.

‘Ask the one who did it’
Khumalo confirmed that the child would have known him and the two other farm workers who were co-accused in the matter.

However, he denied the state’s allegation that the child was killed to protect their identities.

“There was no reason. Ask the one who did it,” Khumalo answered.

Khumalo’s defence was closed on Tuesday, while another accused, Tshekolo Letlala, was called by his legal counsel to the stand to testify in his own defence.

Letlala said he was on the farm the night before the Potgieters were murdered but he knew nothing of the incident.

The six face three counts of murder, one of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and charges relating to the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. They have pleaded not guilty.

The other accused are Diphapang Motaung, Stemmer Mofokeng, Tapa Mofokeng and Telleko Seekoei, all from Lindley.

The case continues. — Sapa