File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Murder-accused's church has a black pastor, so he is not racist - court hears

By BONGANI NKOSI Time of article published Dec 12, 2019

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Johannesburg - Petrus Durant, the security company owner convicted of murdering a farmworker in the West Rand earlier last year, cannot be deemed a racist because he attended a church led by a black pastor. 

This is according to social worker, Carina Wolmarans, who conducted a pre-sentencing report deposed to Judge Ramarumo Monama at the South Gauteng High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court, on Thursday. 

The court was due to sentence 47-year-old Durant for killing tractor driver Aaron Mutavhatsindi in January 2018. 

Wolmarans was roped in by Durant's legal team to do the report, opting for government social workers. 

The government's social workers conducted a victim impact report who then interviewed Mutavhatsindi's family members. 

Wolmarans interviewed Durant for up to three hours in jail for the qualitative report meant to assist the court to mete out a suitable sentence. 

Following a trial that ended in October, Judge Monama found Durant guilty of premeditated murder and possession of an unlawful firearm. 

He shot Mutavhatsindi in the head as he drove his work tractor towards his shack in Matshelapata, an informal community near Krugersdorp. 

Durant chased Mutavhatsindi as management of Bartlett Eggs Farm, where the deceased worked, had reported the tractor as stolen. 

Photos of a dead Mutavhatsindi slouched in the driver’s seat of the tractor circulated on social media shortly after the killing.

The murder angered residents of Matshelapata, who labeled it as racially motivated. Political parties also voiced their disgust in the murder. 

Durant denied that he killed Mutavhatsindi because he was African and maintained that he acted in the best interests of the community as Mutavhatsindi was driving the tractor recklessly. 

Wolmarans sought to add weight to Durant's submission that he was not another racist white man. 

To support her assertion, Wolmarans gave an example that Durant attended a church with a black pastor. 

"If he was a racist, I can't foresee that he'd attend a church where the pastor was black," said Wolmarans. 

She said Durant also financially sponsored two crèches, one of which was in Matshelapata. 

The sentencing proceedings were continuing. 

@BonganiNkosi87 

The Star

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