DEEP RIFTS AS NORTH WEST FARMER STAND ACCUSED OF MURDER
A hundred-year-old farm house in Mooinooi stands abandoned and striped bare, while two families seek answers into the disappearance of Tebogo Ndlovu.
The property is the centre of an ongoing murder trial that has divided the North West community along racial lines.
Ndlovu‚ from the nearby Majakaneng area‚ was allegedly shot at the farm on August 2‚ 2017‚ allegedly while stealing oranges. The 24-year-old was with two accomplices and has never been seen since the shooting.
The two survivors identified 24-year-old Matthew Benson‚ whose parents own the citrus farm‚ as the shooter.
Angry Majakaneng residents demanding Ndlovu’s body vandalised the property and forced the farm owners to flee the area a few days after the shooting.
Five months have now passed and what is left at the farm is a torn down structure with several books‚ house items and clothes scattered across the ground.
House roofing and windows have disappeared. A large pool‚ located a few footsteps from the house‚ has run dry. A filthy doll looking into the sky is among the debris left behind during the destruction‚ a sad reminder that people once called this site home.
“We have lost everything we have worked for. It’s like day and night. I can’t believe this is the place we used to live in‚” said Matthew’s older brother‚ Alex Benson‚ after the Brits Magistrate’s Court transferred the murder case to the high court.
“The farm is totally ruined. Everything has been vandalised and there is nothing left over. Where is the justice? That’s our property. It should be up to the court to decide on this matter‚ not for some people to take justice into their own hands. You will never find such destruction anywhere else‚” said Alex.
Production has stopped at the Benson farm due to the murder case – and a total of 26 people from the poverty-stricken community of Majakaneng have since lost their jobs.
The accused‚ who has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him‚ will remain in custody until his next court appearance.
“Matthew is innocent. There is no proper evidence against him. The truth will prevail and he will come out‚” said the brother.
Majakaneng residents damaged and looted the farmhouse of Matthew Benson’s parents in Mooinooi, North West. Benson has been accused of shooting Tebogo Ndlovu. TimesLIVE speaks to Benson’s brother, …
The accused previously told court that Ndlovu is alive and has been spotted in the province.
But the Ndlovu family tells a different story.
Martha Ndlovu firmly believes her son was killed by Benson. All she wants is his remains.
“It’s been a long time since my child disappeared. If he was still alive he would have contacted us by now. That boy killed him. I don’t care anymore why or how he was killed. All I want is his bones so we can bury them properly. We need closure‚” said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu said the incident has caused pain in the family and has affected her health. She claims she struggles to sleep because she constantly thinks about her missing son.
During the initial stages of the investigation‚ blood stains were found at the farm and were compared with that of Martha Ndlovu. Laboratory results said the samples match.
A 9mm pistol belonging to Benson’s father also tested positive when compared with three cartridges found at the crime scene.
Police are still investigating the case and have issued up to a R100 000 reward for information that might provide clarity on the case.
Friends and farmers supporting Benson are convinced that Ndlovu is in hiding. They have hired a private investigator to sniff him out. The group has also raised R41 000 reward for any information that might lead to his whereabouts.
But all attempts have not yet borne fruit.
“The reward is still available. We have not received any positive leads yet. We call upon all parties involved to give the police space to investigate. Nobody must take the law into their own hands. Those conducting their own investigation must work closely with the police‚” said North West police spokesman Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone.
Benson will appear in the Pretoria High Court on 28 May for murder.