2007-10-26 : One murder costs 50 jobs


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2007-10-26 : One murder costs 50 jobs

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-11-06 07:53

One murder costs 50 jobs
Witness Fri, 26 Oct 2007

By Ingrid Oellerman and Nathi Olifa

Slain Andrew Main´s farm to be sold, leaving 50 workers and
families destitute

About 50 farm workers and their dependents are facing a bleak
future as a direct result of the shooting of Cramond vegetable
farmer, Andrew Main (52) last month.

The farm workers - some of whom have worked on Main´s farm for
close to twenty years - have been given notice - as the farm is to
be sold - and told that their employment will be terminated at the
end of November.

Ron Gevers, a close friend of the Main family, said it will be
impossible for other farmers in the area to absorb so many workers
onto their farms and the majority will be forced to return to
their traditional homes scattered all over the country, as far
afield as the Transkei.

Some 30 workers, bearing placards, written in Zulu, stating the
suspects be given life terms or be hanged, crowded around the
entrance to the New Hanover Court yesterday where three of Main´s
alleged killers made a brief appearance yesterday.

They were hoping for a glimpse of the men who they hold
responsible for their job losses.

They told The Witness that their lives have already been hugely
affected since all activities have stalled on the farm.

The employees´ foreman, Hilton Shongwe, said workers have received
notices of retrenchment.

"We´re very sad and angry that it took only three people to put
hundreds of people into poverty. We don´t even know where to go.
Some of these people are feeding families, children are attending
schools," said Shongwe.

The crowd was disappointed when security guards at first declined
to allow them entry into the courtroom yesterday, but after
negotiating with the court managers, were told that they could
attend the proceedings as long as they left their placards outside
as no picketing was allowed inside the premises.

However, due to space constraints, just 10 were permitted inside
to represent the group and then inform the others what transpired.

The appearance by the three accused before Magistrate Ross Stewart
was fleeting as two of the accused indicated that they have yet to
apply for legal aid.

Once all three have legal representation, they will be in a
position to apply for bail, if they wish to do so. The case was
postponed until Thursday, November 1.

The accused, Mzamo Jali (36) Mxolisi Gcwabashe (26) and Mthokozisi
Blessing Jali (27) were remanded in custody.

A fourth man sought by police in connection with the murder and
robbery of Main, was shot dead by police at Dambuza earlier this
month after he allegedly disarmed a policeman. He was identified
as Lucky Ntombela.

The Witness learned that Ntombela was suspected in a number of
housebreaking incidents committed on farms in the area.

Police have said they believe the motive for Main´s murder was to
rob the farmer of firearms.

Investigators have recovered three firearms stolen from Main - a
.303 rifle, a shotgun and .38 revolver - as well as ammunition and
an AK-47 rifle, which is believed to be the murder weapon.

Main, of Gilmore Farm, was shot several times with a high-powered
weapon when he returned to his farm on September 24, after taking
his daughter to the city.

Published: 26 October 2007
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