Wine farmer Wynand Stephanus was killed during an attack at his Stellenbosch wine estate, Louiesenhof. File Picture: Supplied
Wine farmer Wynand Stephanus was killed during an attack at his Stellenbosch wine estate, Louiesenhof. File Picture: Supplied

Widow of Stellenbosch wine farmer and two alleged hitmen in court for murder

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Nov 12, 2021

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CAPE TOWN — The Stellenbosch widow accused of masterminding her husband’s murder and the two alleged hitmen appeared in the Western Cape High Court.

Zurenah Smit, Karel Derek Sait and Steven James Damon are accused of murdering prominent businessman Wynand Smit.

The trio face 14 other charges which include two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, robbery, three counts of forgery, three counts of uttering, two counts of illegal possession of firearms and two counts of illegal possession of ammunition.

Smit, who married Zurenah after his divorce in 1999, owned Louisenhof Cellars CC, Ribbok Heuwels Trust and WS Smit Watergang Trust.

Smit, who feared for his wife's safety and that of his properties after an illegal occupation on his land, hired security and appointed Bradley Shawn van Eysland to oversee her and his property, especially his homestead, the Louisenhof Farm.

Zurenah and van Eysland soon developed a close relationship and she confided her unhappiness in her marriage and that she allegedly wanted to have her husband killed.

Zurenah Smit, the wife of murdered Stellenbosch farmer Wynand Stefanus Smit, and Derek Sait and Steven Damon facecharges of murder, house robbery, illegal firearm and ammunition possession as well as assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

According to the indictment before the court, Van Eysland did not take much note of Zurenah’s words but she persisted with him to set up a plan. He then allegedly told her he knew someone who could assist and approached Sait who worked as a security guard on the farm.

The indictment further stated towards the end of 2018, when Smit was about to terminate his contract with the security company due to high costs, Van Eysland started to send the deceased false threats in order to frighten and persuade him not to terminate the contract.

It stated further that Zurenah allegedly made false claims to have seen persons in the bushes near their homestead.

When this did not bring any success, the indictment stated Zurenah, with Van Eysland’s assistance, drugged Smit with sleeping pills, took the safe keys. They allegedly also took R235 000, a pistol previously owned by Smit’s former wife and three Kruger Rands worth R20 650 each, along with a Mandela/De Klerk coin worth R23 000 and one 0.5 oz Kruger Rand worth R9 200.

In continuing with her plan to have her husband murdered, Zurenah apparently promised Sait and Damon R2 million each if they executed him.

She is alleged to have stated she would alter his will and ensure she had enough money to pay them.

It is alleged the group agreed on staging a house robbery where Smit would be killed.

The trio decided they needed a witness and a guest was invited for supper with Zurenah and Smit on June 2, 2019.

The indictment states Van Eysland and Zurenah deliberately left the door open through which Eysland, Sait and Damon entered and shot and killed Smit.

The guest was robbed of her belongings while Zurenah was robbed of her cellphone but left unharmed.

Zurenah is further accused of forging her mother-in-law’s (Smit’s mother) will and removing her children and grandchildren as major beneficiaries.

It is alleged she bequeathed only R150 000 to each and nominated herself as the sole heir to the remainder of the estate.

It is further alleged she forged a document which gave her power of attorney and gave her full control over her husband’s assets, his pension and an undisclosed number of diamonds currently in safekeeping in Germany.

The matter against the trio has been postponed until February 18, 2022.

The accused are out on R10 000 bail each and under house arrest.

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