Durban - Before a Pietermaritzburg High Court judge sentenced him to life in jail on Friday, a murderer asked his victim’s family to forgive him, saying he was sorry.
Mzomuhle Ntshangase, 30, asked Acting Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati to allow him to say something to dairy farmer Willem Weites’s family before deciding on his fate.
He told Weites’s daughter, Everlien, he realised his actions had been wrong and how the death had affected the family.
“I do understand how painful it is to lose a parent.”
Weites, 78, was killed on his farm at Ngome, near Vryheid, in October. His wife, Gerdina, 76, and Everlien were assaulted during the robbery.
Five men were arrested: Ntshangase, Moses Sigawuge, 34, and Big-Boy Ncube, 29, pleaded guilty. Two others are awaiting trial.
Sigawuge was sentenced to life imprisonment. Ncube got 20 years because he had not played a role in planning the murder. He had just driven the killers to the farm, fetched them afterwards and taken a cut of the R40 000 they stole.
The trio were also sentenced to 15 years for aggravated robbery.
Ntshangase suggested robbing the farm. He and Sigawuge did the planning.
Everlien testified that every time she saw a knife, it brought back memories. Her mother often relived the attack and had to move to an old age home.
The farm was being sold and she had no idea what she was going to do because all she had wanted to do was farm.
The judge said: “Gone are the days when, if one wanted peace and quiet, one would go to the farm or rural areas.”
Ten other families had been affected by the murder because they had lost their jobs.
The three accused were employed and had children. It was unfortunate that crime was being committed by breadwinners, the judge said.
“One wonders if they think of their children before committing these offences… all because of greed.”