Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal -
Two of the three men charged with the murders of an elderly Richmond couple and their son have indicated they intended to plead guilty.
Ekard Schutte, 77, and Elizabeth, 66, and their son Lutz were killed on their smallholding at the weekend.
Zamo Maduna, 19, who worked for the Schuttes, and Siphesihle Ngubane, 20, appeared briefly in the Richmond Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday along with a 17-year-old accomplice. The teenager has not disclosed how he will plead.
Another man, Njabulo Zuma, 20, is charged with being in possession of the items stolen from the couple’s house on Saturday.
Zuma and Maduna went to the home of the couple’s other son, Stefan, on Sunday to work in his garden. Stefan found the bodies at midday when he went to braai with his family.
As one of the accused is a minor, magistrate Thamsanqa Cele held proceedings in camera, barring the media from attending, despite an informal application by journalists to be present.
This angered some residents who were at court to see the alleged killers.
Residents spoke fondly of the couple and asked why they had been killed.
They said what made people afraid was that they could no longer trust the people who worked for them.
“Are you going to have to question every staff member if they are going to do that to you?” asked a resident.
None of the Schutte family were in court. Stefan went to the Richmond police station earlier in the day to thank the Richmond police, Crime Intelligence, K9 Unit, Hawks and Magma security for making the arrests.
He said police were “fantastic” and had given feedback to the family at all times.
When asked about the man who had been employed by his dad, Stefan broke down.
He said the man had worked for his father for about a year.
Stefan said the family had elected Karen Lowe as their spokeswoman.
Lowe said the couple also had another son, Matthias, who flew in from London, and two daughters - Gerlind Fouche who lived in Upington, and Angela Geldenhuys who lived in the Western Cape.
She said the farm was empty and the family had not yet decided what to do with it. A cat and boerboel dog belonging to the couple had to be put down as they were traumatised. The other dogs had been rehomed.
Lowe said a memorial service would be held at the Lutheran Church in Pietermaritzburg at 11am on Saturday .
The suspects were expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court again on Thursday or Friday.