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Pretoria - The families of alleged poachers whose bodies were burnt by a father and his son have more questions than answers after the matter was concluded in the Pretoria High court on Wednesday.
Wednesday marked the end of a 10-year long quest by the families to get justice after the deaths of Zakharia Leso, 34, and Sello Morua, 36. Now the families say they are still unhappy as too many things have been left unsettled.
Leso, 34, and Morua, 36, were shot and killed by Dyllan de Beer, then 16, in 2004 as he suspected they were poachers. He said he was hunting impala on the family farm in the North West when he saw an injured warthog and heard a rifle shot. He then heard shouting and a bullet whizzed past his ear.
He fired two fatal shots at his attackers and went to call his father, Douw. When he arrived, they removed the bodies and burnt them. Only 10 small bones of Leso and Morua were found.
Dyllan was acquitted of murder last year and convicted of stealing the dead men’s cellphones.
He was on Wednesday sentenced to six months in jail, or a R2 000 fine, for stealing the cellphones.
He paid the fine but is appealing against his conviction.
His father was sentenced to two years in prison and applied for leave to appeal against the sentence. Judge Winston Msimeki said the sentences were “blended with mercy” and refused Douw permission to appeal against his sentence.
He did, however, agree to Douw, 59, filing a petition with the Supreme Court of Appeal within a month. Judge Msimeki extended Douw’s R10 000 bail. Should his petition be unsuccessful, he must report to authorities for incarceration within 48 hours.
The De Beers have only spent three months behind bars.
For the Leso and Morua families, the sentences were hard to accept. After sentencing, they approached prosecutor Christo Roberts to find out what happened to their relatives’ bones and cellphones. Roberts told them they should contact the police.
Leso’s sister, Elisa, said: “When the case started, police told us the cellphone had been found, but now that it was thrown into a dam. We were also told the bones were found but we still have not received them or their ashes. The farm has been sold so we’ve not collected their spirits.”
Both families also do not have death certificates. “We cannot get death certificates because we do not have the bones,” Elisa said.
She would like the case to be investigated properly again – a view shared by Sello Morua’s sister, Sylvia. “How is it that they were let off the murder charge? It also makes me angry that De Beer is appealing against a two-year sentence. I wish the court would’ve done more. They’re only considering their feelings. What about what we’ve gone through the past 10 years?”