By Libuseng Nyaka
One of the six women murdered alongside a 17-year old boy at Lismor Farm on Friday leaves behind a one-year old baby who depended entirely on its mother for breastfeeding.
Sharing the devastation inflicted by the barbaric killings, Khethene Radebe who has lost three of her relatives had this to say:
“Nokufa Portia Monareng, 30, is my sister’s daughter who has left behind a one-year old suckling baby. As you can just imagine, we have sleepless nights and the baby cries nonstop as she wants her mother’s warmth and milk. All affected families are devastated. We live in fear thinking that the killers will come back for us,” Radebe said.
Radebe also lost her elder sister Nomasonto Christina Zulu, 56, her sister’s friend Sesi Smith and her 17-year old son Rudi Smit. Sesi was married to Lismor Farm owner Alhet Smith.
“We are devastated because we have lost more than one relative in this murder. I am in real pain. Nomasonto Christiana Zulu is my elder sister and was very close to Sesi Binto Smith, who has also been murdered alongside her son Rudi Smith, 17.”
Tempers flared during the first court appearance of two suspects Lerato Selepe (34) and his nephew Kamohelo Motankisi (22) who are alleged to have murdered the six women and the 17-year old boy in their sleep at Lismor Farm. Selepe and Motankisi appeared in Kestell Magistrate court on Monday and remanded in custody after the case was postponed to Wednesday to allow them to apply for legal aid as they intend to apply for bail .
But state prosecutor Ntai Letaba told the court of the state’s intention to oppose the bail as they have a strong case against the suspects.
The pair was found in possession of a shotgun and pellet gun in Bohlokong , Bethlehem and are facing seven counts of murder, two counts of rape, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, one count of house-breaking with intent to steal and theft as well as illegal possession of a firearm.
According to police, a Ford Ranger was also stolen from the farm but was found abandoned on the roadside.
Community members came in their numbers to register their dissatisfaction and influence the court not to grant bail to the suspects.
Relatives of the victims could not hold their tears as they watched the two suspects ushered to court under heavy police guard, saying seeing them on Monday was unbearable and like rubbing salt into their wounds.
“Facing the alleged murderers of our relatives is a bitter pill to swallow,” Radebe said.
Radebe was also annoyed by the fact that the suspects still want to be granted bail, disregarding the anger of the community and they pain they have caused the families of the victims.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the deceased were discovered dead on Friday July 15 ,2022 by Alhet Smit, the owner of Lismor Farm. The deceased were identified as his wife Sesi smit, stepson Rudi Smit , and five female farm employees.
“After seven people were brutally murdered at Lismore Farm near Kestell, police investigating team followed intelligence driven information which led to the arrest of two men aged 22 and 34 years respectively. The two men were arrested on a road just outside Bohlokong township in Bethlehem. Two firearms, shot gun and pellet gun believed to have been stolen from same farm house were also recovered with the possibility that one of the firearms could be the murder weapon.”
Other victims are Lerato Julia Moloi, 33, Mothoduwa Paulina Moloi, 36, Nomasontsha Ana Topsy Maduna, 43.
Meanwhile, the MEC for agriculture and rural development Thembeni Nxangisa who also attended the court hearing, urged the court to mete out life imprisonment without option of parole.
“These imbeciles must be locked up and the key must be thrown away. What they did is inhuman and unacceptable. They could wipe out the entire community; you can see that these guys have no chance of rehabilitating. I really think the court must make a decision to send them away forever. We do not need such people among us,” Nxangisa said.