Wife of murdered Northern Cape hotel owner in court
The wife of the late owner of the Pofadder Hotel, who was found murdered in his swimming pool in October last year, will make a formal bail application in the Pofadder Magistrate’s Court on April 7.
The deceased, Leon Brits, 41, sustained several stab wounds, while valuables including firearms, a cellphone, Krugerrand coins, polished diamonds and cash were taken from the premises at the time of the incident.
Police spokesperson Captain Sergio Kock said that the accused, Suretha Brits, 30, appeared briefly in the Pofadder Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of murder, aggravated robbery and perjury.
“The case is postponed until April 7 for a formal bail application. The accused will remain in custody. The investigation continues,” said Kock.
Brits was arrested at her home in Kakamas on Monday morning.
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 Suretha 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 it was assaulted with a baseball bat, strangled with a dog chain and thrown into the swimming pool.
Van Vuuren stated that Suretha 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 Suretha 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 Suretha 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.
The State was represented by senior advocate Hannes Cloete, while advocate Janette Henzen-du Toit appeared on behalf of Van Vuuren.