Decision to switch chess night cost TV producer Johann Botha and his best friend their lives

08 June 2017 - 18:46
By Jan Bornman And Kgaugelo Masweneng
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Botha‚ a former presenter of 50/50 and producer for Carte Blache‚ and his best friend and owner of the popular Zebra Inn in Jeppestown in Johannesburg‚ Perchtold ‚ were shot and killed on Wednesday night during an armed robbery.

Jeppestown police spokesperson Captain Richard Munyai confirmed police were investigating a case of murder and armed robbery after three men and a woman entered the popular bar on Wednesday night pretending to be customers.

After buying a few drinks‚ the robbers demanded money from Botha and Perchtold .

"The suspects shot both and went into a storeroom and took two 9 mm pistols and an undisclosed amount of cash from a safe and fled the scene‚" Munyai said.

With police still investigating the case‚ friends of Botha and Swazi Werner have recounted the memories they shared with the two men.

Michael Lingwood‚ a friend of both men‚ described Botha as a "great man".

"In terms of the two of them‚ they became friends when Botha was doing a story about ivory in Africa years ago. They shared a common interest because of the countries they had visited and their love for animals‚ books and vinyl records‚" Lingwood said.

Lingwood said that he knew of previous robberies at the Zebra Inn‚ where the bar area was decorated with more than 100 taxidermied animals all shot by Swazi Werner.

"This is not the first robbery… It could be a robbery went wrong or someone wanted to settle a score with them‚" he said.

"We had to meet for a couple of drinks last night and I could not make it because of the cold." he said

Cobus Bester‚ who used to work with Botha while he was a presenter on radio‚ said he had never seen a man as lively.

"Johann lived his life to the fullest. You never know when your time will come and you just have to live like Johann lived‚" Bester said.

"He was a very gifted man. Someone who was a real all-rounder‚" Bester said.

Botha‚ who lived in Kensington‚ "had enormous talent and a big heart"‚ the producers of current affairs show Carte Blanche said in a statement.

He was an opera singer‚ presenter of 50/50‚ radio personality and an environmental and investigative television producer. He also worked on KykNet's Projek Aardwolf‚ the statement said.

"I met Johan Botha in 2003. At the time I was a teenager and Johann was presenting Tempo (then the only Rock music programme on Afrikaans radio)‚" said Herman Maritz‚ another of Botha's friends. Maritz reminisced about how Botha's "extreme love and knowledge of music made him connect with the younger listeners like me".

"In him‚ many found a friend. We haven't spoken in a few years. I regret that I never told him that he had such a massive impact‚" said Maritz.

-TMG Digital/TimesLIVE