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Farm murder suspect granted bail

Staff Reporter

One of the two men accused of killing farm manager Brendin Horner has been granted bail by the Senekal Magistrates Court.

Sebolai Piet Matlaletsa, 44, who is the second accused in the matter, was granted bail of R5 000 on Thursday after satisfying the court that he was not a flight risk.

His co-accused, Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, was denied bail after the court found that the state had a potentially strong case against him and that he could influence his spouse to change her evidence as she is one of the state’s key witnesses.

Magistrate Deon Van Rooyen said in his bail ruling Matlaletsa had proved before court that he was a good candidate for bail and that the state did not have a very strong case against him.

“Matlaletsa . . . has immovable property in Paul Roux and has no family ties in Lesotho,” said the magistrate.

This was in response to a point raised by investigating officer Pieter Myburgh when he testified saying if Matlaletsa was released on bail, he could abscond and possibly go to Lesotho where he is believed to have relatives.

Myburgh also suggested he may intimidate witnesses as there were allegations Matlaletsa had instructed his brother-in-law to threaten a witness at a funeral in Phuthaditjhaba.

This could however not be substantiated.

The court also pointed to the state that it does not seem to have a strong case against the second accused to warrant him remaining behind bars.

“There is no direct evidence linking Matlaletsa to the crime he is charged with,” Van Rooyen said.

This after DNA evidence extracted from Horner’s bakkie and tested at a private laboratory failed to link the first accused to the matter while that of the second accused was defective and inconclusive.

This means at the moment the state can only rely on circumstantial evidence given by witnesses.

Results for the other forensic tests being conducted at the state laboratory may take up to six months before they are finalised.

Horner, 21, managed DeRots Farm in Paul Roux.

He was found killed at the beginning of this month.

His body was tied to a pole and is believed to have died from strangulation.

He had injuries to the face and stab wounds to the neck.

The case was postponed to December 1 for further investigations.

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