Two Free State farmers and their two employees accused of brutally murdering a gardener made their first appearance in the Odendaalsrus magistrate's court yesterday.
Jacobus Nel, 27, Gideon Van Zyl, 28, Chabedi Lebeko, 29, and Andries Moholo, 36, appeared briefly and were not asked to plead.
It is alleged that on March 19 the accused abducted Pule Motlhanke, 54, after accusing him of stealing a bag of maize meal.
Motlhanke was beaten and hacked to death with "a sharp object" and later dumped in the open veld.
Nel, Van Zyl, Lebeko and Moholo are expected in court again for their bail application on Wednesday.
Motlhanke's widow, Sebolelo, said she last saw him when he left for work the day he went missing.
"My husband was an honest, loving and caring man.
"I still do not believe that he will never bring food to the table for us again," said the grieving widow.
Sebolelo said the next day, on March 20, she received information that her husband was seen being beaten.
Sebolelo said two men told her that her husband pleaded for mercy while he was being beaten - but then he was driven off in a van by his attackers
I went to hospitals looking for him and he was nowhere to be found," said Sebolelo.
Motlhanke's body was found by police officers on Tuesday.