Constable Winston Scheepers told the Western Cape High Court he had received a text message from an off-duty sergeant, saying workers on the Bien Donne Farm in Klein Drakenstein were complaining of a foul smell.
Photos of Zarah’s decomposing body were shown as evidence in court on Monday, but no one could bear to look at them for more than a moment.
Zarah, 33, from Kuils River went missing on 14 March 2016 with her boyfriend’s BMW Z3.
Renaldo van Rooyen, 33, from Kuils River and Tawfeeq Ebrahim, 26, of Malibu Village have been charged with murder, defeating the ends of justice and robbery of a vehicle.
The accused allegedly bludgeoned Zarah to death with a hammer because she owed them drug money.
Scheepers, attached to the Drakenstein SAPS, testified in Afrikaans and said: “We were busy patrolling when I received a text from an off-duty colleague saying people using the gravel road on Bien Donne Farm were complaining about a smell and it could be possible the smell is from a body."
“We immediately went to the farm and a strong stench could be smelt. About two-and-a-half metres from our vehicle we saw a black plastic bag under a bush. As we went nearer, the plastic bag, as it lay, resembled a body.”
Ricardo Levendal, a friend of Zarah’s now deceased boyfriend Mark Kleinsmith, testified to the condition in which he and Kleinsmith found the BMW Z3.
He says they searched for Zarah in Kuils River before reporting her missing. He did not say where Mark found the car.
“Closer to the end of the week following Zarah’s disappearance, Mark came to me driving his BMW Z3. The car was damaged,” Ricardo testified.
“The passenger’s window on the left side was broken, the wheels on the car did not fit the vehicle and the wheels were fitted with one or two nuts screwed on. The radio was out, the gear lever knob with the BMW logo was out, the shuttle at the back of the vehicle was out and there were damages on the driver’s side of the vehicle.”
The court also heard from Zarah’s friend, Nadia Smith, who is a neighbour of Van Rooyen’s.
She says on the Monday, Zarah arrived in the BMW and tried to borrow R150 “to play the slots”.
“I said I didn’t have any money, but could lend her the money on Thursday. She then asked me if I had Renaldo’s number. I never had any contact with her again.”
She saw Van Rooyen again on Thursday, when he mentioned a red car following Zarah when she left his house the Monday evening.
Zarah’s brother Brendan Hector also testified earlier.
The defence did not cross-examine any of the State’s witnesses.