The high court in Polokwane on Tuesday sentenced three men to life imprisonment for the 2020 murder of a farmer in Limpopo.
Zimbabweans Ugenius Saga, 31, Lloyd Mandumbu, 30, and Tatenda Ngwenya, 33, were found guilty of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, housebreaking with intent to rob, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and common assault.
They committed the offences on March 20 2020 at Bad Se Loop farm in the Waterberg and were arrested on the same day.
The deceased, Alwyn Petrus van Zyl, was asleep with his wife when the accused attacked them.
Van Zyl was tied with a rope and several items were taken, including a cooler bag marked “R Van Zyl”, a red high-output air pump, silver binoculars and a black and yellow bag containing a ventilated touring tent.
He was killed by strangulation, according to the postmortem report.
During the trial, the accused said they were not at the crime scene and maintained they were not responsible for the offence. They denied being in a possession of a blue bag with the deceased’s name on it.
The state submitted that the evidence provided by the police linked the accused to the murder.
In aggravation of sentence, the prosecution said there was a legitimate public outcry about farm murders. It said such murders will have consequences on the food supply, as farmers who are under attack will end up abandoning their farming activities and the result will be hunger in an already poverty-stricken country.
The court imposed life imprisonment on each of the accused for murder, 15 years each on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstance, five years each on a charge of housebreaking with intent to rob, one year each on a charge of assault, and 15 years for Ngwenya on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.