Mooinooi murders: Alleged mastermind’s son, 2 others go free
All charges against three of the accused in the Mooinooi murder and rape case of same-sex married couple Joey and Anisha van Niekerk were withdrawn in the Brits Magistrate's Court in the North West on Thursday, Netwerk24 reported.
Prosecutor Christine Molautsi informed the court that Moses Rakubu, Vincent Strydom and Maroeca Opperman, Strydom's former girlfriend, could be excused.
Strydom's father Kobus Strydom, the alleged mastermind in the case, tried hard to make eye contact with his son, but he just stared straight ahead of him.
Molautsi then handed down the indictment and the trial is expected to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, against two Mozambican brothers, respectively 25 and 18 years old, Strydom (52), Alex Modau (36) and Mercia Strydom (22), the wife of Koos.
The accused were previously not identified because they were formerly arrested on charges of rape with a common purpose. By law, the names of suspects in a sexual crime may only be released once they have pleaded.
According to the indictment, only the two Mozambican brothers are now accused of rape. Both worked for Strydom at his panel beating business, which was situated on Joey and Anisha's property.
All five remaining suspects are also on trial for two counts of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, two counts of kidnapping, three of theft and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
The State maintains that Strydom wanted to buy the Van Niekerk couple's smallholding and that he had had a contract drawn up. The holding was in Anisha's name.
"Accused two (Strydom) decided that in order to enforce the purchaser's contract, Anisha van Niekerk must be forced to sign it. His aim was that both the deceased should be murdered after the contract was signed. To this purpose, he approached the other accused for help," the indictment states.
The deceased went to Strydom's farm on December 10, 2017. Here Anisha was allegedly forced to sign the contract, after which she and Joey were "cruelly assaulted and ultimately murdered".
The indictment also reads: "The two deceased were raped more than once by accused one and three (before they were murdered). Their bodies were then burnt."
According to the State, before they were murdered, Joey and Anisha were also robbed of their vehicle, which was later burnt. They were assaulted to force them to disclose the PIN numbers of their bank cards to the accused, the State alleges.
Thousands of rands were withdrawn from Joey's bank account on December 11 and 12, while R800 was withdrawn from Anisha's on December 12.
Only the remains of Anisha's body were found, but the cause of her death could not be ascertained. Joey's body was never found.
"The State will prove that all the accused worked together in a premeditated crime. The murders were planned in advance and carried out in a robbery. The victims were raped repeatedly (in execution of the plan)," the indictment read.
A list of 33 State witnesses was attached.
The case was postponed to later in the month so that a Legal Aid lawyer could be appointed for Modau and the two Mozambican brothers. The Strydom couple has a private lawyer. All of them are still being detained, except for Mercia, who was earlier released on bail together with Vincent and Opperman.
In the meantime, Strydom’s farm has been sold.
*Strydom and the older Mozambican brother are expected to appear in the high court in Mogwase in the North West in September, where they are accused of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. This is in connection with an incident in 2014, in which Strydom allegedly also wanted to buy the victim's farm.
- This article first appeared on Netwerk24.