Farmer murder witness describes shocking discovery

By Roland Routh

Windhoek

A witness in a murder case told the court how he made the grizzly discovery of the body of a dead farmer, Ernst Jacobus Cloete, 73.
David Groenewaldt said he was in the search party that searched the farm after being informed Cloete was missing.
“While I was walking along the bushes I saw something like a sail (piece of canvas) sticking out and when I investigated I saw the body of the deceased,” he narrated animatedly.
“Ek het so groot geskrik dat ek skoon in die verkeerde rigting gehardloop het terwyl ek geskree het (I got such a fright that I ran in the wrong direction while screaming),” Groenewaldt testified in Afrikaans.
He said that after that people started arriving, but he did not go near the scene again. The son of the deceased, Jacobus Cloete, also testified about the discovery of his dead father. According to Cloete he received a phone call from his sister who informed him their father was missing. He called his brothers and they travelled to the farm Drie Riviere from their respective places of employment.
When they arrived at the farm they started searching for the deceased but with no luck. The next day more people arrived and the deceased’s partly decomposed body was found covered with tree branches.
Riaan Khachab, 36, and Hans Gareth Kamberipa, 34, are on trial for the murder and robbery of the deceased who was killed at farm Drie Riviere in the Rehoboth district on November 28, 2011.
Khachab and Kamberipa were arrested in early December 2011.
According to the State they ambushed the victim and struck him with an axe while he was tending to his sheep and goats that were grazing, whereafter they tied his hands and feet with a rope.
According to the charge sheet, the accused hid his body in some bushes and covered it with some shrubs in an attempt to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
Khachab and Kamberipa then proceeded to rob the deceased of a wallet containing a PSEMAS medical aid card, PSUN card, Meatco membership card, GIPF card and at least N$300 in cash and also took the deceased’s .270 SAKO rifle with serial number 553150 with a suppressor, telescope and rifle bag and at least eight live .270 rounds, the indictment states.
In addition they also stole 30 sheep and three goats, a rope and a Samsung cellular phone. The two accused are charged with one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, one count of possession of a firearm without a licence and one count of possession of ammunition without a licence.
Kamberipa claims in a plea explanation entered by his lawyer, Mese Tjituri, that he had gone to a farm in the Rehoboth area with Khachab with a plan to steal some livestock.
While on the farm they spotted a vehicle and while he (Kamberipa) was rounding up some livestock, which he then drove off in the direction of Rehoboth, Khachab went closer to the vehicle, Tjituri said, and Kamberipa left Khachab behind at the farm when he herded the livestock away towards Rehoboth. In his plea explanation, Khachab denied going with Kamberipa to the farm, but admitted that items belonging to the late Cloete were found in his possession on December 2, 2011. These items were Cloete’s wallet with personal documents and cards, a cellphone, a rifle and ammunition, all of which Kamberipa had given to him for safekeeping on November 29, 2011, he stated.
Khachab is currently serving a sentence for a conviction of escape from lawful custody and Kamberipa is in custody for the current matter.



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