One of the two brothers who were shot and killed allegedly by a farm owner was murdered days before he could introduce his pregnant fiancée to his mother.
The Coka brothers – Mgcini, 36, and Zenzele, 40, – were shot and killed, allegedly by a farmer while trying to break up a fight at a farm in Dirkieskop in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, on Friday.
The killings happened just over a week after a farm owner was arrested in Marble Hall, Limpopo, for the murder of one of his employees and for injuring two others.
In the Mpumalanga incident, provincial police spokesperson Col Donald Mdhluli said information at their disposal was that the deceased and other people went to the farm owner to seek employment as seasonal workers. “It is said that the farm owner informed these men that they are not welcome on his premises. It is said that those who came to ask for employment then decided to leave the farm but later realised that one of them was left behind.
“They then went back only to find that he was kept at the farm by the suspects … the men demanded that they let him go, a scuffle broke where two men were reportedly shot and died at the scene.”
But the brothers’ niece, Ntombi Coka, told Sowetan that her uncles were killed while breaking up a fight between job-seekers and farmers. “I went to the scene and when I arrived, I found farmers chasing people around. My uncles were lying down with bullets wounds,” she said.
Petty Ndlovu, the sister of Mgcini’s girlfriend, said he had planned to travel with his fiancée for her to meet his ailing mother for the first time on Tuesday. “He left Gauteng two weeks ago to see his mother in Mpumalanga and told me that he would be coming back on Friday. He had agreed with my sister that he would take her to meet his mother for the first time,” she said.
Her sister is seven months pregnant. “Mgcini wanted his mother to meet his wife before she could give birth. And now that he has been killed, his fiancée is deeply hurt and has been crying nonstop.”
Pictures of the Coka brothers’ dead bodies went viral on social media at the weekend.
Mdhluli said four suspects aged between 25 and 53 are due to appear in the Piet Retief magistrate’s court today. “The men are facing two counts of murder. They are alleged to have also assaulted another man, hence a third count of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm has been added against them.”
Ntombi Coka said the family wants the suspects to rot in jail.
“We are deeply hurt and we know there is nothing that will bring my uncles back. I think the farmers didn’t even hesitate to pull the trigger because they know black life doesn’t matter and [they] will soon get out of prison,” she said.
In the Limpopo matter, a 46year-old farmer will appear in the Marble Hall magistrate’s court for the second time tomorrow for murder and assault.
“The arrest emanates from the death of a 22-year-old Zimbabwean man known as Progress “Mudanga,” said provincial police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo.
He said the men went to Ras Boerdery to demand their pay when the incident occurred. He said while the men were on the premises, five security officials approached them.
“The security officials accused them of stealing batteries at their working place. The security guards allegedly forced them to go back to Ras Boerdery and on their arrival they took them to the employer (suspect Dian Ras) … They allegedly took them to the storeroom where they were allegedly severely assaulted.
“Thereafter the victims were taken to another compound at Toitskraal farm in critical condition.
“One of victims died instantly and others were taken to Groblersdal Hospital for medical treatment,” said Mojapelo.