Dad of farm killer apologises to victims' family
Mlondi Radebe, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - In a brief and unexpected moment of conciliation, the father of a man sentenced to life for murder, grasped the hand of the victim’s son and apologised in court.
Zamokuhle Maduna, 19, Siphesihle Ngubane, 20, and Lindokuhle Khoza, 18, were each handed three life sentences in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on Wednesday.
Acting Judge Louis Barnard described the attack on Ekard Schutte, 76, his wife Elizabeth, 66, and their son Lutz, 33, as calculated and brutal.
After sentence was handed down, Ekard’s sons Stefan and Mathias Schutte and Zamokuhle’s father Joseph Maduna shook hands and Maduna apologised for his son’s terrible deeds as their families looked on.
Joseph Maduna told reporters afterwards that he had told the family he was sorry, but did not want to speak further on the incident or with regards to the sentence his son received.
After accepting the apology, Stefan Schutte said that while they had lost their family, Joseph Maduna had lost his son.
Reacting to the sentence, Schutte said: “It won’t bring back my family but we accept it. It’s hard to speak about closure at this time.”
Maduna admitted to brutally murdering the Schutte family on 1 March at Richmond.
Lutz had arrived at the family farm from Germany to celebrate his father’s birthday.
Maduna and his two co-accused were sentenced to life for each murder plus 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, as well as five years for possession of firearms and ammunition.
'Barbaric and savage act'
Acting Judge Barnard said in handing down sentence: “This leaves one with doubts to whether the three accused are capable of rehabilitation. You committed a barbaric and savage act against humanity... even setting their bodies alight.”
He said that when Ekard was lying dying in the shed on the farm the men could have fled.
Instead, “they hid and waited for Elizabeth to return. One would have hoped that while Ekard was attacked and left for dead, the three would have had enough time to reflect on their actions and leave.
“Instead they also attacked Lutz mercilessly and stabbed him to death. They then tied Elizabeth and forced her to open the safe. They then slit her throat then doused them with petrol and set them alight,” said Barnard.
He said this was a truly shocking incident and the killers had shown no mercy to their victims.
Defence counsel Zina Anastasiou, arguing in mitigation of sentence on Tuesday, had said the guilty plea showed that the men had shown remorse. But Barnard disagreed, saying the remorse probably arose only after they had been arrested.
Barnard said the heinous crime against the family had impacted on Schutte’s grandchildren as they were receiving psychological counselling.
Maduna, Ngubane and Khoza all applied for leave to appeal against sentence but Barnard granted only Khoza such leave to appeal.