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Daughter recounts deadly farm attack

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Pietermaritzburg - The daughter of murdered KwaZulu-Natal sugarcane farmer Peter Hackland told the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday she was repeatedly slapped by one of the men accused of murdering her father.

Louise Hartwig said she had been partially blinded by pepper spray and while being slapped, heard a gunshot, Hackland shout, a second shot, then her 62-year-old father wail in agony, a Sapa correspondent reported.

She was giving evidence before Acting Judge Thoba Poyoo-Dlwati, who had earlier heard Nkosinathi Mngadi, 29, and Sifiso Ngubane, 24, plead not guilty to all charges.

Besides Hackland's murder, the two men were also facing charges of aggravated robbery, and the aggravated assaults of Hartwig and Margaret Fennell, Hackland's secretary.

Hackland, a sugarcane, timber and citrus farmer from Ixopo in southern KwaZulu-Natal, was murdered in May last year.

Hartwig told the court that Mngadi and Ngubane were demanding money when Fennell began singing a hymn, which led Ngubane to slap her extremely hard.

Hartwig said she told Ngubane to leave Fennell alone as she only worked there. Hartwig earlier identified Mngadi and Ngubane as the men who attacked them.

She said she was studying in the house when she heard her father shout from outside.

Upon going outside, Hartwig saw Mngadi, in possession of a firearm, holding Hackland's right arm and Ngubane his left as they struggled.

Ngubane let go of Hackland's arm, grabbed Hartwig and forced her into the house.

Hartwig, who twice broke down during her testimony, said she was afraid she was being taken away from her father.

It was then Fennell came out of her office. Ngubane grabbed her around the neck and a struggle ensued.

Hartwig told Fennell that the two men were armed and she should not provoke Ngubane any further.

Hackland and Mngadi were still shouting as the two men demanded money.

The women said they did not have money, leading to them again being hit.

Hartwig's grandmother then appeared but soon disappeared after being pepper sprayed.

Hartwig said she gave Ngubane credit cards but he threw them down. Mngadi then handed her some keys and told her to open a safe, but she told them they were the wrong keys.

Mngadi pointed a gun at Hartwig and threatened to shoot her if she did not open the safe, but she showed them they did not work.

The two men took a cellphone, made a call in English then ran out of the house.

The trial, set down for two weeks, continues on Tuesday.

Sapa


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