Joey van Niekerk, 32, and Anisha van Niekerk, 30

RUSTENBURG - The trial against five people accused of the murder of a same-sex couple from Mooinooi in the North West province was postponed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

State Prosecutor Juliet Makgwatha said the State was not ready for trial and needed more time to prepare and do further investigations.

Aaron Sithole, 23, Koos Strydom, 52, Jack Sithole, 18, Marchia Strydom, 22, and Alex Mudau, 36, are accused of killing Joey van Niekerk, 32, and Anisha van Niekerk, 30.

Three other accused, Vincent Strydom, 29, Maroela Opperman, 18, and Moses Rakubu, were set free after charges against them were withdrawn.

The state alleges that Koos Strydom and his wife Marcia, together with the Sithole brothers and Mudau, kidnapped, robbed and killed the Van Niekerks on 10 December 2017. The women were also raped.

The state further alleges that Strydom wanted to force Anisha to sell their smallholding to him, but she did not want to do so. According to the indictment, Strydom’s intentions were to kill the couple after the agreement of sale was signed. 

When that failed, Strydom allegedly solicited the help of the other accused to kidnap the couple.

The victims were bound, raped, tortured and eventually shot. Their bank cards were stolen and used, allegedly by the accused in the days following the murder. 

All five accused face two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, three of theft and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The Sithole brothers face an additional charge of rape.

The same-sex married couple from Mooinooi near Brits in North West, went missing on 10 December 2017. They left for a funeral in Pretoria but never arrived. Their burnt out car was found on 16 December in the Magaliesburg area.

The matter is expected to sit from August 19 until September 6.

African News Agency (ANA)