Farm killer gets 32 yearsBy: WERNER MENGES
THE murder that Caprivi Region farmworker Alfred Simasiku Sezuni committed when he used an AK47 rifle to kill one of his employers was “hideous and premeditated”, Sezuni was told before he was sentenced to prison for 32 years on Friday.
Three and a half months after its start in the High Court in Windhoek, Sezuni’s trial has ended with Judge Louis Muller sentencing him to 26 years’ imprisonment on a charge of murder, a further six-year jail term on a charge of the unlawful importation and possession of a machine gun, and a concurrent one-year jail term on a count of unlawful possession of AK47 ammunition.
Sezuni (31) has already been in custody for more than three and a half years – since his arrest in early March 2005.
His trial started before Judge Muller on June 3 this year with Sezuni pleading guilty to all three charges. However, because he did not admit that he had a direct intention to kill when he carried out the murder that he admitted, a trial ensued on the murder charge.
Judge Muller also convicted him on that charge on July 28, when he found that Sezuni had the direct intention to kill farm manager Jacques Du Toit Erasmus (41) when he shot him with an AK47 rifle at Katima Farm, also known as Likumu Ranch, close to Katima Mulilo on March 1 2005.
According to Sezuni he was deeply unhappy about the way that Erasmus treated him after some cattle that were under his care went missing in early February 2005.
Because the cattle had gone missing, he was ordered to do wood-chopping work and part of his wages was not paid, Sezuni told the court.
By the end of that month, after he had gone to the Labour Inspector at Katima Mulilo to complain about this state of affairs, Sezuni and the Labour Inspector confronted Erasmus, the court heard.
Erasmus reacted angrily, threatening that he would kill Sezuni and using a racially inflammatory term and a word like “baboon” in reference to Sezuni during a heated exchange with him and the Labour Inspector, the Judge was told.
Sezuni, his face masked with a balaclava cap, murdered Erasmus at a cattle post at the farm the next day.
Sezuni’s retaliation for the treatment that he claimed had driven him to confront Erasmus with the AK47 was “immensely out of proportion”, Judge Muller commented on Friday.
The Judge said he accepted that the events of the previous day had influenced Sezuni’s state of mind. However, the provocation that Sezuni claimed had driven him to commit the crime was limited to the events of that day, the Judge said.
He noted that Sezuni had told a Magistrate at Katima Mulilo in a statement that he made before her that he had obtained the gun from someone in Zambia in November 2004 already.
In a plea in which he admitted the murder, and admitted that it was planned beforehand, in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court on March 8 2005, Sezuni also stated that he had gone to Zambia on February 25 2005 to get hold of the AK47, with it already then being his intention to kill Erasmus, the Judge noted further.
The murder was carefully planned, Judge Muller commented. Sezuni had committed “a hideous and premeditated murder”, he said.
Having gone to Zambia to obtain a firearm, he returned to Namibia with the gun, hid it and oiled it before using it, and after having used it he again hid it and then went to Katima Mulilo to spend time with his girlfriend, instead of his wife, the Judge recounted some of the evidence heard during the trial.
Due to his actions, not only his family, which includes his two children, is deprived of a father’s support, but so is the family of Erasmus, the Judge said.
Erasmus was married and had a son, who was almost four years old at the time of his father’s death, the court heard. The death of his father is a great loss to this boy, Judge Muller noted.
Except for the jail terms imposed on Sezuni, the Judge also declared that he would be unfit to possess a firearm for five years after he had completed his prison sentence.
State advocate Ruben Shileka prosecuted. Defence lawyer Louis Karsten represented Sezuni on instructions from the Legal Aid Directorate.