Farmer up for murder released on R50,000 bail
A farmer who stands accused of murdering a former employee at a funeral on his farm in January has been released on bail after the high court in Pietermaritzburg overturned a ruling by the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court.
Philip Solomon‚ 65‚ is charged with the murder in January of Mothiwa Ngubane and the attempted murder of Mondli Lembethe on his farm near Cramond‚ 32km from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal.
He has been held in custody since an earlier bid for bail was denied by the lower court.
On Thursday‚ high court Judge Jacqui Henriques ruled that Solomon be released on R50,000 bail and that the court file be sealed based for confidentiality and security reasons.
Solomon had apparently tried to stop a funeral on his farm‚ which led to a heated argument and culminated in the death of Ngubane‚ who was shot three times.
Solomon had said in a statement in his earlier application that he had felt threatened by a group of mourners and had drawn his gun to protect himself.
He had then barricaded himself in his home‚ leaving police to negotiate with him for more than hour to relinquish his gun and hand himself over.
The murder exposed racial fault-lines in the farming community.
Two days after Solomon’s first appearance in court‚ his life-partner was attacked on the farm by a group of men. Marie Bucher‚ 60‚ sustained serious injuries.
At his court appearance in New Hanover‚ protesters had chanted “kill the boer‚ kill the farmer”.