The grieving family, from left, Moonyeen Schutte, her husband, Stefan, brother-in-law, Matthias Schutte, and mother Nina Lowe. Photo: Shan Pillay

Durban - The son of a Richmond couple who were killed along with another son in a robbery on their farm says he wants to talk to the mastermind behind the attack.

Zamokuhle Maduna, 19, who worked for the couple and admitted he had planned the robbery, Siphesihle Ngubane, 20, and Lindokuhle Khoza, 18, have been convicted of robbery and three counts of murder.

Ekard Schutte, 76, who ran a small sawmill business, his wife, Elizabeth, 66, and their son Lutz, 33, were killed on Springfield farm on March 1.

Lutz, who worked in the music industry in Germany, had flown to South Africa for his father’s birthday.

The men were to have been sentenced on Monday by Pietermaritzburg High Court Acting Judge Louis Barnard, but the case was adjourned so Ngubane could be sent for observation at Fort Napier Hospital.

Ngubane’s advocate, Zina Anastasiou, said the young man’s father had told a probation officer, who prepared a pre-sentencing report, that his son suffered from delusions.

State advocate Candy Kander said the report was not “evidence” before the court and therefore Ngubane had to be examined by a psychiatrist.

Speaking outside the court on Monday, Stefan Schutte, who was supported by his wife, Moonyeen, brother Matthias and mother-in-law Nina Lowe, said his family were devastated by the killings.

“There is a lot of anger. Life goes on, but the pain is there every day. I do not think anyone deserves to go through what they went through. It’s horrible.”

Stefan and Matthias were not on the farm at the time of the killings. Stefan discovered the bodies when he arrived for a braai to celebrate his father’s birthday.

Stefan, who was close to tears, said Maduna had worked for the sawmill business for about two years and had been treated as “part of the family”.

“It makes it worse that he worked for us. I knew his father well and when Zamo (Maduna) finished school he did not have a job, so we hired him.

“Just two days before the murders I discussed the possibility of his studying further, and I told him to come see me and I would look at what courses he could do. Then he killed my family. It is madness.”

Maduna had been trusted by his parents and had even been given a remote control for the gate to the property.

“I want to speak to him because I cannot comprehend how he could have done this to people he worked with and who trusted him.

“It was greed. They thought there was money in the house, but after they killed my father and found there was no money, why didn’t they just leave instead of killing two more people? It is so savage and senseless.”

The plan had been for the family to take over the business, but it was uncertain whether it would keep it going.

“I was supposed to take over. The business has a lot of potential and there are 18 employees, but we are not sure whether we can continue with it,” Schutte said.

In their plea, the killers said Maduna had come up with the idea to rob his boss.

Schutte sr was stabbed to death and the men waited for his wife to come home.

When Elizabeth arrived at the house with her son, Lutz, they were accosted by the men and killed. All three were then doused with petrol and set alight.

The case was adjourned to July for sentencing.

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The Mercury