'Our son was beaten because of murder testimony'

Kimberley - The parents of a Kimberley man who was abducted and assaulted before being returned to the home of a family friend in August last year believe that their son was targeted after he witnessed a murder.

The trial of Rodger Johnson, 41, Brian Williams, 39, Jeston Joubert, 29, Andre Smith, 31, Angus Nero, 31, and Ricardo Verkoper, continued in the Kimberley Magistrates Court on Monday.

From front right to left: Rodger Johnson, Brian Williams, Jeston Joubert, Andre Smit, Angus Nero and Ricardo Verkoper. Picture: Murray Swart. Credit: DFA

They are facing two charges of intimidation following an incident in August 2015 during which William Moss was picked up at a friend of his mother's house before being returned, bloodied and bruised, a few hours later.

Moss's mother, Matilda Moss, a witness in the ongoing trial, struggled to contain her emotions on the stand and a brief adjournment was required before she continued with her testimony on Tuesday.

"That Sunday, I received a call from Shahida (Katz, a family friend), who told me that Max (William Moss) had been picked up by two of the accused, Jeston (Joubert) and Andre (Smith)," she said.

"I contacted the police and when they arrived we went and found a relative of Jeston and asked her to contact him. She told us that he did not have a phone.

"Shahida then told us where Andre stayed and we met one of his relatives and asked her to call him.

"He came after a while but told us that he did not know where or who Max was," Matilda told the court.

"I asked him again and threatened to call the MEC. I told him that he had two hours to bring him back and if he didn't he would be the prime suspect.

"He said nothing and I went home which is when my husband returned from Bloemfontein. I explained to him what had happened."

Matilda testified that she was nervous and did not look at the time, but after a while Shahida called and said that Max had arrived and looked so bad that he would need to go to a doctor.

"We found him at Shahida's house, covered in blood, bumps and bruises. His eye was bleeding and he said he had been hit with a hammer.

"My son was supposed to testify in a criminal case regarding the murder of Eric Tala. They kidnapped him on the 16th (of August) and he was supposed to testify in the murder case on the 17th.

"He said they beat him because of the statement that he had made against them."

Earlier in the day, the father of the complainant, Piet Moss, said that when he returned home from Bloemfontein he heard the news of his son.

"My wife told me that my son was at her friend Shahida's house and that two people had fetched him there, led him to a bakkie that was parked outside and drove off," he told the court.

"I called the police who said that they had been with my wife to look for our son but they had not been able to trace him.

"I then phoned the MEC for Safety and Liaison and she gave me a number for a Colonel Van Heerden."

Moss added that his wife later received a phone call from her friend to inform them that their son had returned to her house.

"We went back to Shahida and called Van Heerden on the way to inform him where the child was. Upon our arrival, I found my son in Shahida's living room.

"I saw the injuries on my son's face. It was swollen on both sides. There were marks under his nose. Above his left eye was a mark that looked like a stab wound and the area above his jaw was red.

According to the father, the police arrived and he showed them what his child looked like. The police took him to the Roodepan Police Station and on the way they stopped a bakkie, which he (the victim) apparently pointed out.

Rick Ishmael, who is appearing for the defence, pointed out that a great deal of evidence presented by the two witnesses should be regarded as inadmissible and hearsay.

The trial will continues on Tuesday.

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