Alleged mastermind of Mooinooi murder was ‘good friends’ with couple

18 January 2018 - 18:35 By Nico Gous
Murder victims Joey Van Niekerk and Anisha Van Niekerk.
Murder victims Joey Van Niekerk and Anisha Van Niekerk.
Image: Obtained from brother’s Facebook Page

The man considered to be the mastermind behind the murder of a couple from Mooinooi in North West said he was “good friends” with the couple and they had a “very good relationship”.

“They always came to visit me at the shop‚” the second accused testified on Thursday.

“I also helped them with their horses.”

He said he could not think of a possible motive for their murder.

The 52-year-old owner of a panel beating business appeared in the Brits Magistrate’s Court. He is one of eight suspects whose bail applications started on Thursday.

Joey and Anisha van Niekerk disappeared from their smallholding outside Mooinooi on December 10 last year. It was on the eve of the funeral of Joey’s father which they were set to attend in Pretoria. They never arrived. Their burnt out car was found on December 16 in the Magaliesburg area.

The charges against the six men and two women include kidnapping‚ rape‚ house break-in‚ murder and robbery with aggravated circumstances. According to the Criminal Procedure Act‚ the suspects in a sexual assault case may not be identified until they have pleaded.

The eight suspects have also been accused of torturing the couple.

The victims were kept in a container on one of the accused’s property and tortured before they were murdered.

Parts of the gallery in Court C were filled with family and friends dressed in black T-shirts that read‚ “Geregtigheid vir Joey & Anisha” (Justice for Joey & Anisha).

Pontsho Raikane led the second accused in his testimony who‚ like the first accused‚ claimed the police tortured and assaulted him to extract a confession.

The second accused testified he had repeatedly tried to lay a complaint with the station commander and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) after the assault‚ but it had fallen on deaf ears.

He was hit on his nose‚ ribs‚ right ear‚ the left side of his face was bruised and his left index finger was broken after the police allegedly slapped‚ kicked and hit him and also hit him with a pipe-like object. He claimed that he urinated blood for two weeks after the damage to his ribs.

He also testified that when he was finally taken to the hospital‚ the doctor said he could not help him‚ because his left index finger was broken for about five weeks.

He rented the workshop on the smallholding‚ but owns three properties. Two are in Rustenburg and the third is a farm.

He testified that cases were previously opened against him‚ but he was not convicted except in one. He was ordered to pay a fine of R1‚500 for not filling in the registry of second-hand goods properly.

He said the police repeatedly searched his property before he was arrested.

The first accused might be connected to another attack on a farm.

The murder happened on a farm close to Rustenburg in 2014‚ but the accused was arrested in January 2017.

State Prosecutor Christine Molautsi asked the first accused about his arrest during cross-examination. He said the case was withdrawn.

Molautsi pressed on and asked him if he was aware it was also a white woman murdered on the farm. He said he only heard stories doing the rounds‚ but was unaware who the victim was.

Molautsi then asked him if he was aware he has to appear in the case on February 6 this year.

“I cannot deny that‚” he replied.

The bail applications continue on Friday.

- Additional reporting by Petru Saal

- TimesLIVE