Danie’s killers in #VryheidFarmAttack sentenced in High Court

Ayanda Mncube (21) and Sibusiso Mbatha (23) will be sentenced at the Pietermaritzburg High Court this week.

HAVING to sit in court and listen to medical experts describe the hellish torture his father was subjected to, was heartbreaking for Chris Swanepoel and his family… But he takes some solace in the fact that the two men convicted for the crime will spend a long time behind bars.

Danie Swanepoel, a farmer in the Zaailaagte area, was ruthlessly attacked on his farm and tortured by the perpetrators in a manner that can only be described as barbaric on November 4.

The attack took place barely a week after South Africans staged #BlackMonday protests again farm attacks.

A recap of the story:

Within two weeks, the two men responsible for the inhumane torture had been convicted.

Ayanda Mncube (21) and Sibusiso Mbatha (23) entered a plea of guilty at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on November 16, and were convicted for murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Investigating officer, Lt Col Du Plessis, worked around the clock to build a rock-solid case against the two accused, to ensure that they would not be able to escape justice for their heinous crime.

“I know I can’t bring Danie back for his grieving family…” said Lt Col Du Plessis. “…But I can make sure that there is at least justice for his murder. I hope that it will give the family closure knowing that the accused are behind bars and not roaming the streets anymore.”

In court, Ayanda and Sibusiso confessed to planning the attack on Mr Swanepoel the previous day. They lay in wait, watching Mr Swanepoel’s property from early that morning and observed Mr Swanepoel’s wife leaving at 6am. It was then that they entered the property. The family’s dogs alerted Mr Swanepoel that there was someone in the yard. When he stepped outside the house to have a look around, the two men grabbed him, demanding money and weapons.

Working as labourers on a neighbouring farm, they had observed that Mr Swanepoel sold vegetables and assumed he may have a large sum of money at his house from the sales. Following hours of cruel and unnecessary torture with an electrical device used to paralyse cattle, they were only able to find about R600 in coins at the house.

When Mrs Swanepoel returned home later, she walked in on the attack and was forced at knife point to drive to an ATM to make a withdrawal.

Ayanda and Sibusiso said they were sorry for what they had done, but they needed money.

ALSO READ: BREAKING NEWS: Another Vryheid farmer slain – two apprehended in #VryheidFarmAttack

AND: Farm attack killers say they are sorry, but they needed money

In court this week:

The extent of the torture the two put Mr Swanepoel through before he died, was taken into account during the sentencing which began this week at the High Court.

On Monday, medical experts described the wounds they found on Mr Swanepoel’s body.

“The doctors said they found that the rope tied around my dad’s neck and around his hands was so tight, it had to be cut off. My dad had been stabbed five times. One of the stab wounds was deep enough to damage his liver, and another was deep enough to penetrate his lung, causing the lung to collapse. An electrical device that can incapacitate a 700kg bull was attached to his lip and toe, and by the time they were finished with him, he was bleeding internally,” said Chris.

“My uncle had told me of the injuries my father sustained, but even he hadn’t realised how bad it had actually been and how much my father must have suffered. It was hectic to listen to, and it was very emotional for my mum as well.”

On Tuesday, the court heard from social workers about the emotional trauma the family, especially Chris’ mum, had endured during and after the incident.

On Wednesday, both Ayanda and Sibusiso were sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for murder, 15 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and three years for kidnapping.

“These men seemed to have no remorse for what they have done. Having them sentenced for their crime will definitely give us some closure. We are grateful to Col Du Plessis and our advocate for their excellent work. We are aware that these cases can sometimes drag on in court for two to three years, with the victim’s family being forced to relive the trauma during each court appearance. Luckily for us, we had a dedicated investigating officer working on the case. In our case, I really feel like the justice system works,” said Chris.

“I would like to urge the community of Vryheid to learn from what happened to my dad. Look after your homes, make sure it is secure, and always be on the lookout for criminals. I hope our experience will encourage other people to be safer.”

Estella Naicker

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