Monday, 14 August 2006

Midlands farm murder trial finally begins

Posted: Sunday, August 13, 2006 13:28

ON Tuesday one of the most famous South African farm murders will play itself out in the Scottburgh courts when Detective Inspector Bruce MacInnes brings Bonile Mkhize (26) to trial for the murder of Highflats farmer Bruce Mac.

Mkhize recently confessed to being present during the commission of several crimes relating to the murder of farmers in the area. He has also confessed to being involved in these crimes — but denies guilt on all charges.

Weekend Witness has not been able to establish what his legal defence will be.

Mac was shot dead with his own shotgun nearly six years ago — one of many farmers who were murdered in the area. The spate of farm murders around Highflats at the time of this murder led Johnny Steinberg to write a best-selling book, Midlands, on the crimes.

At the time of the murder MacInnes was called and asked for assistance by the investigating officer in the case, Basil Crouse from the Port Shepstone Serious and Violent Crimes Unit.

MacInnes, although based in Durban, had been catching a number of criminals from Port Shepstone who had come to Durban to hide.

MacInnes, working with Crouse, quickly established that suspects in the case were hiding out in Durban to evade the law. Within weeks Crouse and MacInnes arrested one man, Baba Shezi, for the killing.

Shezi, after confessing to being part of a hit squad that murdered farmers, agreed to take MacInnes and other investigators to an arms cache in the area. However, while pointing out where he had cached a number of weapons, Shezi grabbed a firearm from the cache and tried to murder the policemen accompanying him. MacInnes shot him dead.

After this incident there were no more murders of farmers in the area — however, Shezi had named an accomplice during his interrogation. This accomplice, Mkhize, was arrested earlier this year after being caught for housebreaking in the Highflats area. MacInnes, on hearing of the arrest, raced to the scene and immediately identified the man as the outstanding suspect in his murder case.

It is believed that, at the time of the killings, Mkhize may have been acting under orders from a community leader who gave orders that wealthy farmers in the area were to be murdered. — OC.

Source: Crime Expo South Africa

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