Bail application of mother of two accused of killing hotel owner husband delayed
The bail application of 30-year-old Suretha Brits, who is accused of being the mastermind in the murder of her husband, the owner of the Pofadder Hotel, was postponed to May 17.
Brits appeared in the Pofadder Magistrate’s Court on April 29, 2021.
Provincial National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Mojalefa Senokoane said Brits, who is the mother of three children, is facing murder charges following the death of her husband, Leon Brits.
“On October 7, 2020, the victim was brutally killed and his body thrown into the swimming pool on one of his properties, where it was later found. Some items of value, which included diamonds and money was also stolen.
’’The accused in the matter faces charges of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm,” said Senokoane.
He said the State, represented by Advocate Hannes Cloete, told the court that the accused might interfere with the case should he be granted bail.
“Cloete said she may try to contact as well as influence the state witnesses,” Senokoane said.
He said the matter was postponed for the court to make a ruling on the bail application.
Brits was arrested at her home in Kakamas last month.
Her arrest took place after one of the three men who were arrested in connection with the murder and robbery, Jacques van Vuuren, 37, entered into a plea agreement.
Van Vuuren was sentenced in the Northern Cape High Court on March 25 to an effective 20 years’ imprisonment on charges of murder, aggravated robbery and the unlawful possession of a firearm.
In his plea agreement, Van Vuuren stated that Brits was prepared to pay R400 000 for the execution of the murder, where the murder scene was “staged” as if a robbery had taken place.
He claimed that she had indicated that she would pay R200 000 upfront and the balance after the murder was committed.
Van Vuuren pleaded guilty to stealing a .223 rifle, a Glock pistol, a Star pistol and cash and confessed that he and his co-perpetrators had inflicted grievous bodily harm on the deceased with the use of dangerous weapons.
The plea agreement indicated that “it was not easy to murder” the deceased as Leon Brits had fought back during the attack, where he was assaulted with a baseball bat, strangled with a dog chain and thrown into the swimming pool.
Van Vuuren stated that Brits, whom he considered to be a family friend, had contacted him in September 2020 to do some “dirty work” for her, claiming that her husband had physically abused her and engaged in an extramarital affair.
He said that she had informed him that she could not divorce her husband as he had threatened to “take everything” away from her including her children.
Van Vuuren agreed to assist her, as he felt that her life was in danger, but was not prepared to carry out the murder.
He said that he had contacted a colleague who worked with him at a mine in Kathu, who later identified a person who was willing to commit the murder.
Van Vuuren said that he was not physically present when the deceased was killed, and he expressed remorse for his actions.
The murder was carried out at the couple’s home in Pofadder as Brits and her children stayed in Kakamas during the week.
Van Vuuren added that Brits had paid an initial amount of R75 000 and offered her wedding ring that was valued at R125 000.
He indicated that the person willing to commit the murder would only accept cash, whereupon another R125 000 was paid over by Brits, said Van Vuuren.
He stated that after the murder was committed, the deceased’s cellphone was destroyed. The cellphones that the killers used to communicate with Brits, along with a baseball bat, a knife, a club and overalls worn during the commission of the offence, were burnt in Keimoes.
Van Vuuren said the money was later shared among the perpetrators.
The other two co-accused in the case, Amantle Bareki, 24, and Enrich Williams, 34, will reappear in the Pofadder Magistrate’s Court on May 17 on charges of murder, aggravated robbery and possession of an illegal firearm.