Suspects in brutal double farm-murder remanded in custody

AUGUST 19, 2015

Three suspects arrested in connection with a gruesome double murder of an elderly Eastern Cape woman and her son at a farm in Ida, near Elliot, over the weekend briefly appeared in the Dordrecht Magistrates Court on Tuesday, following an arrangement between the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

The suspects, Lusindiso Mbekeni (19), Sipho Zweni (22) and Siphosethu Matoni (24) face charges of two counts of murder and robbery and have all been remanded in custody to September 2 to allow for further investigation.

The shocking murder of  Hermien Gouws (88) and her son Ruben (65) at Pinevale Farm on the R56 on Saturday evening was so brutal that police would not allow family members to view their bodies.

Hermien's son-in-law, Pieter Venter, told Maroela Media that Ruben was ambushed just after 17h00 outside the homestead when he was feeding poultry. 

Venter said it is believed that he was stabbed and injured outside and then forced into the family's farmhouse.

"He had the keys with him and they used these to gain access.

"My mother-in-law's body was found in the dining room. She was strangled to death with her scarf. Her hands were tied.

"Ruben's body was found in the dining room. He fought back fiercely and the attackers mutilated him terribly - the entire house was full of blood. He was eventually strangled with a blanket. His hands were tied up," Venter described.

He said that, while at a farm in Queenstown, he received a phonecall from one of his workers, who was at a soccer-game nearby telling him of the murder after the worker spotted a man at the game who was "covered in blood and he was armed".

The farm workers made a citizen's arrest and called the police. Another suspect was arrested at 22h00 and a third one at around 03h00 the next morning. 

Police confiscated three firearms and stolen cash from the three suspects.

Ruben was a retired Headmaster from Ida High School -- and two of the suspects are believed to be former pupils at the school.

While police did not confirm it, Maroela Media claimed that two of the suspects were arrested in June this year for the murder of a farmworker and were out on bail.