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AgriEC welcomes Riaan Scheepers murder judgment

Nov 5, 2018
AgriEC welcomes Riaan Scheepers murder judgment

Agri Eastern Cape on Friday welcomed the jail sentences handed to two men after they were convicted of the brutal murder of Alexandria farmer, Riaan Scheepers.

"Friday’s judgment came more than 11 months after the news of the brutal attack on Riaan Scheepers, on the 25th of November 2017, which rocked the farming community in Alexandria," noted Alfonso van Niekerk, Agri EC Chairperson: Rural Safety.

"Riaan eventually succumbed to his wounds, 19th December 2017."

Accused no 1, Siphamandla Petse (aged 24), a first-time offender and accused no 2 Bulelani Zozi (aged 21), who had a prior rape conviction, were found guilty of and sentenced as follows:

  • Count 1- House burglary with intent to rob and robbery – 5 years,
  • Count 2- Robbery with aggravating circumstances – 15 years,
  • Count 3 -Murder – Life Imprisonment,
  • Count 4- Illegal possession of Firearm – 5 years, and
  • Count 5 - Illegal possession of Ammunition – 2 years.

Judge Clive Plasket stated that in his view the attack was extremely violent, and both accused participated in the attack.

"The robbery and attack were well-planned. The house was held under observation for lengthy period of time until the opportunity arose to commit the crime," explained van Niekerk.

"The victim was attacked in the sanctity of his home and given his age and disability from an accident a number of years ago, would have had little chance of escaping from his attackers.

"Although both the accused pleaded guilty to 4 of the counts, this is viewed as an open and shut case, this cannot be seen as a factor in mitigation. Neither of the accused have shown any serious remorse for their actions."

'Justice served in farmer Riaan Scheepers' murder'

Judge Clive Plasket also stated that according to evidence led, the deceased was both a mother and father to his children following the death of his wife a number of years ago.

"He was also a pillar of the community serving as the Chairman of the local old age home, treasurer of the local Farmers Association and serving on the Church Council. The death of the deceased has had a profound affect on his family, community and employees." 

Weighing up the evidence there can be no compelling reasons to depart from the prescribed sentences. Both accused must bear equal responsibility for the crimes committed. The sentences will run concurrently.

The accused have made an application for leave to appeal the life sentence.

Judge Plasket has ruled that in his opinion another court will not reach a different conclusion and that their application has no prospect of success and as such Leave to appeal the life sentence in respect of the Murder charge is dismissed.

Van Niekerk said that justice has been served, and there is finally closure for the family.

Brent McNamara, Chairperson of the Alexandria Agriculture Association, and Operations Manager said "Agri Eastern Cape would continue to engage with the SAPS to improve Rural Safety Strategy in our farming and rural areas”.

"Agri Eastern Cape would like to congratulate the Port Alfred police cluster commander, Brigadier Morgan Govender, Captain Mali Govender, SAPS lead Detective Captain Leon Els who has since retired , Seargant Bakkes and Constable Gxogxo who took over the investigation, and the rest of the SAPS detective unit Members and the NPA team, led by Advocate Obermeyer, for their sterling detective work, and perseverance to bring these perpetrators to justice."

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