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Farm attackers convicted in court


Media Statement from Mpumalanga Media Centre
Corporate Communication and Liaison

South African Police Service

NELSPRUIT – Two men accused of the atrocious murder of a family of four, at the Modderbeult Farm in Balfour during a farm attack were convicted today. The conviction comes after the duo pleaded guilty at the Circuit of the Pretoria High Court sitting in Delmas yesterday.

The court heard that on 14 June 2017, Amos Mthembu aged 28, who was an employee of the victims, had tried borrowing money form the family members (his employers) but could not be assisted. Mthembu then mobilised 37 year old Prince Mngomezulu, and they killed his employer Mr Gert Smuts (78), his wife Paulina (70), as well as their son Louis (47) and daughter-in-law Belinda Smuts (42). In the process, they sexually abused Belinda before fleeing the scene in a Toyota Prado of the victims.

The duo were arrested on the same day of the incident, after they were spotted around Balfour driving in the victims’ vehicle with the assistance of Tracker. When police approached them, they opened fire and police retaliated wherein both suspects were subdued and arrested, with Mngomezulu sustaining a gunshot wound. Inside the vehicle, police found a laptop and a 9mm pistol which was successfully linked to the murder of the victims through ballistic tests.

Yesterday, the duo pleaded guilty to all the charges laid against them. Today, the court officially found them guilty as follows:
Accused 1, Mthembu: four counts of murder, rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition;
Accused 2, Mgomezulu: receiving stolen property.

The court postponed sentencing in the matter to 27 July 2018 for some outstanding reports to be compiled before sentence may be passed.

The Provincial Commissioner of the Police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, commended the investigating team for their sterling work and the invaluable input by Tracker which made the capture of the duo a possibility.

Media enquiries: Colonel Mtsholi Bhembe - 082 556 5356